coopandthegang

The Adventures Of Coop & The Gang

Going Commando December 31, 2011

Filed under: Keeping Chickwans — Coop & The Gang @ 3:00 pm
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It appears Mave is in full moult. From the odd feather here & there to a hen house scene that made me wonder if a fox or cat had got in. Had I not seen three chickens jump out with the shake of the feeder I would have started digging around in the sawdust for remains.

An alarming amount of feathers have come off Mave, a few nights she perched alone with feathers scattered around…neither part unusual for the moult, its likened to a human having the flu…don’t touch me, don’t even look at me! Pin feathers are soft and full of blood so can be very sore when ruffled or even touched. Maves always snuggled in the middle as top hen. A little worried lice were back…I wanted to wake her & bring her in. My better half persuaded me to let her sleep.

I bought her in, a guide of the house under my arm & then an inspection from my lap. Phew, no lice but a hand full of feathers so a handful of corn on the blanket & some chatter proved she was in fine spirits, good colour, clear eyes & nose. Back to Coop with a full tum.

Every morning we have a hen house full of Maves beautiful downy vent feathers . But she’s still first to the feeder & to stick her beak out of coop to inspect the forecast.

Having read some of the forums & sought some chicken club advice some extra high protein and energy treats purchased in the hope that extra protein would help Mave replenish her feathers a little quicker. We fed Mave in isolation for a week to ensure she was getting fair feed on the days I wasn’t home during the week. At the weekends three bowls, 10 minutes each, no hanging around eat it or lose it!

Mave seems to have come through the worst now, she’s a completely different colour around her neck,  her crop and wattle are still pale but she’s in fine spirits. Meanwhile Im still collecting the feathers & find myself dipping my hand in to the downy fuffly lovelyness. Maybe I’ll use them as a filling for something, waste not want not.

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Worms, Worms, Worms

Well, I’ve been a little neglectful for the online side of Coop & the Gang in the last month and what a month. Following on from our earlier post wiggly worms…it happened.

Just as I thought we were settling down following lice & with the light change I’d hoped the girls were settling into a routine to see them through the darker days. On my return home from my mornings duties, Flo was getting the usual abuse & Doris was pecking mash off her beak & I thought I saw something funny in coop. A lot of rather odd looking spaghetti lengths loosely held together with some brown.

Little fork in hand, I enter coop & smuggle it out of the way, I let the girls snuffle around while I tidied up & found some treats. I found our wormer and mixed up a small amount with feed, corn & some meal worms for interest. At this point it was confirmed not to be Doris…she pooped on my carpet. It was however Flo or Mave who deposited some more spaghetti hoops on the back step. You can google yourself chicken poo with worms its gross, but I didnt find anything that came close to what we encountered.

Knowing full well that worms can destroy a hen we had medication in our kit and were 6 monthly dosing so I was surprised & a little dissapointed to see we had worms. They’d not let me know, maybe Maves moult was just covering the fact she looked dishevelled with dry mangled feathers? She’s always had a boney keel but she was putting weight back on & no one had muck around their vent which always gives a way internal issues.

A drop in egg production is a noticeable sign of worms, but also of winter. No one looked or felt underweight, depressed or full of worms. So, how did they get them? Well worms lay eggs, chickens pass eggs. Slugs & soil help the eggs hatch & the chicken eats the eggs or larvae and we get worms.

I sanitise the ground we keep coop on, I keep feed dry…we are unfortunate the Coop is in the boggy part of the garden where the soak away from the front ends, but coop is for the most part dry. We have many garden visitors who dont help, it only takes one unwormed animal to pass by and we are slug and wormy heavy…& my girls can snuffle out a slug or a worm at 10 paces. They’ll tear around the garden just to ensure its theirs and despite a constant supply of fresh water they do like the rain waters that gathers in oddest places I’ve never even realised I need to tip out.

Flubenvent mixed up with crumb & mash & a tiny spot of oil, smaller feeds mean the girls can’t selectively feed on non medicated food in the garden & some added nutrients in the water for seven days and no further suspicious looking passings passed, it seemed out worming routine worked and was doing exactly what it was meant to. Phew, they do like to keep me on my toes!

 

Boredom Busting Ideas July 1, 2011

It somehow seems wrong talking about fun when I think if I move I might melt to the sofa, but that was the name of the game this week.

Rightly or wrongly I feel bad for the time the gang are hulled up in Coop, all their freedoms are met and they have plenty of space, food, water, access to shade, sunlight and everything they need. But chickens are a lot smarter than I thought.

& my Chickwans are no different. They know exactly what is going on and where they need to be. Recently we have been trying to expand their routine where possible to stretch their minds and their legs and in some cases their wings.

We’ve made corn harder to reach for, seemingly impossible without a little cunning & thought. This has particularly caught the attention of top hen Mave. I so much as have to bend over to water the plants & I feel like a pirate with parrot Mave on my shoulder wanting pieces of eight. She will do anything for corn, she stamps her feet about working for it but she’ll get there.

If you google entertainment for chickens there are lots of tips and ideas, a few I decided to give a go. I swear these chickens are out to bankrupt me, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. For the most part they will keep themselves amused but I want them to have more fun associated with me. Its all about me!

I tend to have a salad every day for lunch, I tend to have a lot of off cuts, lettuce, pepper, celery so I got a “Boredom Beating Food Ball” from the good people at the Eglu Omlet Shop  Its a wire ball that allows you to fill with anything you wish to keep any pet amused, it works a treat. A great way for them to get some more vitamins and minerals, handy waste disposal and it can be as challenging or not depending on where I place the ball. They like cauliflower more than me, a great share and everyone needs a good stretch in the morning.

The next investment came courtesy of typing chicken fun into ebay and seeing what came up and it turned out to be this lovely little ball from Savic entitled Chicken Fun a wonderful little plastic number with some elastic holding the two sides together for you to put treats inside, in my case meal worms and corn, the more they bat it around the more goodies fall out. I don’t know who had more fun with this, them playing with it or me watching them! Check out the video on the website.

Flo was the first the get her head around it, Doris a close second and Mave, well she point blank refused to even entertain the notion that she might have to work for treats and just kept flapping on my knee. Soon learnt her though.

It’s not a treat they get everyday but its certainly fun watching them all bat it around, trying to swipe it from each other. We’re in full egg production so they can’t be too unhappy. They catch the odd slug in the garden, much to each others great amusement whoever found it runs around the garden hotly pursued trying to find a quiet spot to nom it in peace.

Me, well I’m going to keep feeling guilty about keeping them shut away for too long, working to the pay the bills and saving for the dream of a long lush paddock where the gang can be as free range as they like with some lovely little friends.