Urgent help required

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ManicMum

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Urgent help required
« on: January 19, 2011, 23:22 »
After our weeks of reading, websiting & foruming, planning what & where & how with a view to getting set up with housing then birds in March or thereabouts.... OH has just found out he has a colleague who is moving on 28Jan (9 days) and looking to rehome her 6 ex-batts with the coop & some left over bits and pieces as well.

Have said yes - as you do - and the plan is to move coop & birds this Sunday.

Electric fence ordered (fingers crossed for delivery).

What are the absolute bottom-line essentials in the way of equipment and supplies that I need to lay hands on between now and the weekend?  I want to make sure we're covered for the vital stuff but will enjoy adding the twiddly bits as I have time, money & more understanding of what's needed.

All suggestions gratefully received......
ManicMum

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hillfooter

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Re: Urgent help required
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2011, 02:29 »
A Drinker & Feeder.  Get the green plastic gravity fed hoppers like a white translucent plastic tube with a green dispensing trough.  The 6Kg one is best for 6 chx.  There's a matching 4 litre drinker too. Don't be tempted to buy the cheap red plastic ones which go brittle and crack over time.



You will need an external sheltered run and the best arrangement is a covered entrance run to the house where you can hang the feeder at back height and stand the drinker on a paving slab or bricks.  Keeps the entrance dry an mud free too if you put down a base of mulch such as composed hedge shreddings or wood chips ideally with a duck board mat on top made from slatted batons prevents mud being trailed in the house. Here you can see a drinker on a sawn in half pallet and old trellis used as a duck board outside the run with a slatted floor mat in the covered house porch run.



Slatted duckboard



Covered porch for the house. Use a tarp or heavy polythene (black damp proof course membrane as waterproof a cover and bungees to hold it down)



Feed of course - get a mainstream brand of layers pellets 6 birds will eat around 800 - 900 grams a day so a 20kg sack will last around three weeks.  A dry storage for feed is essential, protected against mice and a metal dustbin is a cheap solution.  A sack of mixed poultry corn is the only other feed you should get.  A handful each every evening is all you should give them.  If your friends have left over feed you can mix it with the new feed till they are weaned over to the brand you wish to use.  If they are currently on mash wean them on to pellets asap.  All round much more convenient than mash on several counts.

Get some mixed poultry grit and a grit dispenser.  Buy a metal one rather than use an old dish which gets spilled quickly or make one from wood.  In ten years I've not found one to beat the purpose made design for convenience and durability.

Home made gritbox made from gift spice rack 'package'



A shovel, brush, scrapper (paint shaver or a hand hoe is good too) a bucket for water and one for feed topping up, a sponge and a washing up brush to clean the drinker and a wheel barrow for mucking out.  A disinfectant spray too for cleaning.  Dilute household disinfectant will do but if you are getting some specifically for the chickens get Vanodine V18 which is often the preferred one experienced keepers use for pigeon lofts and poultry.  Some cheap washing up detergent completes the cleaning equipment.  

A bale of either softwood shavings (Snowflakes Premium or Hunters from the horse feed stores) or Hemcore whichever you prefer.  You can use chopped straw & shavings mixed but it's definitely second best.  Don't use hay at all.

Gentian (purple) spray for cuts and bleeding injuries is all the medication you need to start with.  You should ask about worming and worm them in the next few weeks if not done this winter use flubenvet only not any of the organic herb (garlic) based ones which are or dubious effectiveness.

A good torch and preferably a head torch. I'd strongly recommend, the LENSER 3 LED one with battery pack.  It is a must in my view for these dark winter evenings as it allows you to work hands free.

Use tree stakes to tension your net from at each corner.  The supplied poles aren't strong enough to support a corner and will bend.  Tie a guy cord to the tree stake as below.  Note also the feeder hanging  under cover in the porch run.



A good reference book - Kate Thears 'Starting with chickens' is clear simple not too expensive and contains basic good advice.  This isn't the most comprehensive book you can get but a good beginners book.  Some have recommended the Haynes manual of Chicken maintenance which I've not seen myself.

Things not to get - apple cider vinegar or garlic (old wives cure all tonics save your money), poultry spice which is often laced with garlic the compound feed has all the nutrients they need.   Poultry spice provides extra minerals if your basic feed is unbalanced like if you are feeding your own special mixes or a high scraps or vegetable diet. DON'T BUY any supplements or magic tonics, no matter what you are advised, or fancy feed or treat feeds.  Get to know them first before you even think about departing from the basics.  Don't waste your money on any Red Mite powder or other powder or spray made by Barrier (in the white cardboard tubes) they are expensive talc for chickens and completely ineffective though often the only things suppliers stock (they make an enormous margin on this basically ground corn which is laced with a mosquito repellent and citrus aromatic.  It smells nice which is its only virtue).  

In late spring consider a pesticide spray for the house to prevent Red Mite(you can seek advice then for the best option). Don't buy Poultry Shield which is a detergent disinfectant widely used by poultry hobbyists.  Cheap washing up liquid with a slurp of Vanodine or household disinfectant does the job at a fraction of the cost.  Use Diatom powder in slurry with dilute Vanodine V18 to paint the perches and house nooks and crannies to discourage red mite colonising and also stops droppings sticking to the wood making cleaning easier.

Happy keeping and if you are tempted to start using witchcraft and using magic potions and practising alchemy give yourself a good talking to first and remember the KISS principle, at all times KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID.
HF
« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 08:20 by hillfooter »
Truth through science.

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Lindeggs

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Re: Urgent help required
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2011, 03:38 »
As usual, a great, comprehensive reply from Mr Hillfooter.

...
Things not to get - apple cider vinegar or garlic (old wives cure all tonics save your money), poultry spice which is often laced with garlic ... i[f] you are tempted to start using witchcraft and using magic potions and practising alchemy give yourself a good talking to first ...

Unless, of course, you are an old wife, an alchemist or a witch.  In which case you can take all the rest of Hillfooter's excellent advice, give yourself a good talking to, then start talking to others on this site about the benefits of natural remedies.    ;)

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hillfooter

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Re: Urgent help required
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2011, 04:05 »
As usual, a great, comprehensive reply from Mr Hillfooter.

Unless, of course, you are an old wife, an alchemist or a witch.  ;)

So which are you Lindeeggs?  :D

HF

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rachelr

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Re: Urgent help required
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2011, 05:03 »
Good advice but please also enjoy your birds. They are so much fun and all have very different characters. Once hooked most people just cant not have chooks.

Good luck

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ManicMum

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Re: Urgent help required
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2011, 08:12 »
Wow - thanks, HF!!!!!

A digest of chicken husbandry in a single post.....I can now go shopping with confidence and feel that I am spending wisely, not vulnerable to pretty packaging and elaborate claims.

I shall try to apply the KISS principle in other areas of my life, too.

I have to say I'm really excited - and being taken by surprise like this might be easier than all the agonising over what to buy to start with.  I'm hoping they are currently laying.....
Now for the names - or shall I go for a collective name (my friend calls hers The McNuggets!)

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Sassy

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Re: Urgent help required
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2011, 08:32 »
Wow - thanks, HF!!!!!

I have to say I'm really excited - and being taken by surprise like this might be easier than all the agonising over what to buy to start with.  I'm hoping they are currently laying.....
Now for the names - or shall I go for a collective name (my friend calls hers The McNuggets!)

Often the best way is just to get on with it - having done your research of course. Hillfooter gives good if not excellent advice. It is possible to make chook keeping complicated which it absolutely doesn't need to be. Good luck :) :)
Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted!!

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Hayley'sHens

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Re: Urgent help required
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2011, 09:14 »
HF, What breed is the gold hen with black neck feathers?

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Lindeggs

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Re: Urgent help required
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2011, 09:17 »
As usual, a great, comprehensive reply from Mr Hillfooter.

Unless, of course, you are an old wife, an alchemist or a witch.  ;)

So which are you Lindeeggs?  :D

HF

Well, if an alchemist is someone who can take base elements and miraculously transform them into something wonderful, then that must be me!  By a mysterious process I can take a warm, feathery little animal, put slugs, snails, weeds and scraps in one end and get a delicious breakfast out the other!  :lol:  Gosh I must be talented!

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cammi

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Re: Urgent help required
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2011, 09:47 »
As usual, a great, comprehensive reply from Mr Hillfooter.

Unless, of course, you are an old wife, an alchemist or a witch.  ;)

So which are you Lindeeggs?  :D

HF

Well, if an alchemist is someone who can take base elements and miraculously transform them into something wonderful, then that must be me!  By a mysterious process I can take a warm, feathery little animal, put slugs, snails, weeds and scraps in one end and get a delicious breakfast out the other!  :lol:  Gosh I must be talented!
:D :D :D :D  (sorry theres no giggling little face)  I love that!!  Thats need to be made into a sign!  :D
11 Chickens (Rhode Rock, Bluebell, Copper Black, Columbine, Coucou, Mystery Hen, Clarance Court, Araucana, brown hen ) , 3 Cats (1 mog, 1 bengal, 1 Bengal x),  2 Little Boys, 1 dog (Golden Retriever) and 1 Husband

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hillfooter

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Re: Urgent help required
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2011, 10:47 »
As usual, a great, comprehensive reply from Mr Hillfooter.

Unless, of course, you are an old wife, an alchemist or a witch.  ;)

So which are you Lindeeggs?  :D

HF

Well, if an alchemist is someone who can take base elements and miraculously transform them into something wonderful, then that must be me!  By a mysterious process I can take a warm, feathery little animal, put slugs, snails, weeds and scraps in one end and get a delicious breakfast out the other!  :lol:  Gosh I must be talented!

I bet it's not just delicious breakfasts which come out the other end though unless you are also a witch and can change them into eggs :lol:
HF

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Sassy

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Re: Urgent help required
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2011, 15:31 »
HF, What breed is the gold hen with black neck feathers?

I'm no expert but I think it is a buff Sussex. :)

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Hayley'sHens

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Re: Urgent help required
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2011, 16:01 »
Thank you, Off to google.....I really like that  :)

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hillfooter

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Re: Urgent help required
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2011, 23:26 »
There are two which meet your description.  Here are the chickens in my photos starting with the top one.

Photo 1 Speckled Sussex
Photo 2 Light Sussex - she's was a very old hen and died at the age of 10 in Feb last year not long after this photo was taken
Photo 3 Welsummer
Photo 4 Barnevelders in foreground Vorwerks in background
Photo 5 Buff Sussex on LHS & Barnevelder on RHS picking grit
Photo 7 Vorwerk in front of run

Buff Sussex are one of my favourute pure breeds and also good layers.  They are a heavy breed a proper looking chicken with flat backs and deep bodies.  If you like Orps you'll like BS they can be almost as beautifully feathered and being a native breed they are easy to keep and very good free rangers.  They have columbian markings (black hackles and tail)

Vorwerks also have light mahogany bodies with very black hackles and tails.  They are a germany chicken of lighter build and very elegant and slim with white ear lobes.

Here's a BS



Light & Buff Sussex with a leghorn? cockerel



and here's some VWs



2 VW and a legbar LB



HF
« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 23:29 by hillfooter »

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Lindeggs

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Re: Urgent help required
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2011, 03:06 »
All your hens are beautiful but those Vorwerks are particularly stunning!  We can't get them in NZ so of course I'm envious!

I bet it's not just delicious breakfasts which come out the other end though unless you are also a witch and can change them into eggs :lol:
HF

Well actually I use various forms of witchcraft to turn those into grilled tomatoes and basil pesto to go with my eggs for breakfast.  Those spells take longer than the egg one but are worth the wait.  :tongue2:




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