Feeding advice please

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jaws

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Feeding advice please
« on: March 23, 2015, 18:33 »
Two weeks ago I collected 3 ex cage birds. Problems. 1 is a bully, 1 is slightly pecked on her comb and feather missing round her neck. 1 is a victim, pecked comb and virtually no rear feathers and a badly bruised parsons nose. By day 3 it was like a massacre. The other(s) had pecked her parsons nose badly and there was blood everywhere. Visit to the vet, antibiotics and pain killers and separation.
They had been fed mash in the cages. I have bought both mash and pellets. They just seem to chuck their food all over the place out of the feeders. They don't seem to eat many if any pellets. I would prefer they were on pellets as they are less messy.  Someone has said if they are hungry enough they will eat the pellets. Am I  OK to perservere with pellets only or could they starve?
I have also offered them corn, cooked rice and hung a cabbage in the pen and even bought a play ball which drops food as it rolls to keep them amused and reduce bullying  but they are oblivious to them all. I only have experience of pol hens, growing up and loving "treats".
The two in  the main run (2m x 3m) are laying an egg each per day and the victim slightly less often. They are my only hens at present .
Will the caged birds become more playful in time and am I OK with the pellets!
I would appreciate advice from ex caged hen owners or others with experience/knowledge.
Thanks

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joyfull

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Re: Feeding advice please
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2015, 07:39 »
first of all stop the cooked rice - it isn't necessary and also breaks DEFRAS rules.
I also got 3 ex caged birds recently - 1 came with a bald bum and she is the bottom of the gang of 3. Caged birds have had to fight to get room, food, water etc and this behaviour will continue for a while. Invest in some purple spray because once they draw blood they will continue and peck the hen to death (nature can be so cruel). You could also try removing the bully for a while to allow the other two to bond (remember they may not be from the same cage so will be total strangers and have to establish their new pecking order).
Mine have been on layers and yes it is messy because they will scratch around to get their favourite bits out of it. If you buy Allen and Pages organic layers pellets you will see that the pellets are smaller so it might be worth trying yours on that as they may be able to pick the pellets up easier or try making a porridge with your mash by adding water to it, this can be a lot less messy.
Staffies are softer than you think.

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jaws

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Re: Feeding advice please
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2015, 10:13 »
Thanks. Yes I read all the DEFRA and kitchen produce information on this site, last night. I tried the rice during the day yesterday as I  had cooked for us and the previous hens could not resist it -not this lot though.
I have bought the purple spray and now the injured hen has almost healed and is growing bum feathers I will try her (colour camoflaged ) in the larger pen with the others under supervision. Good idea about separating out the bully for some time. I have the additional problem of isolating the eggs from the treated hen as her eggs should not be used for 30 days.  Its like being a juggler.
I hope the do become playful as the previous hens were fun to watch.
I will try the water in the mash although I  would prefer them using pellets and the new ones I  have bought do seem a lot smaller than my previous ones.
Thanks for your advice
Joan

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Sassy

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Re: Feeding advice please
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2015, 09:05 »
I have not had reason to try this but have seen advice: put food colouring around the hens vent and it should mark the eggs laid.  :)
Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted!!

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jaws

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Re: Feeding advice please
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2015, 16:59 »
I had a similar idea using the purple spray. Unfortunately I was not paying attention and had the spray the wrong way round and ended up with a face full of purple,  and it stains - but once it's dry doesn't colour the egg!
All three girls are in together successfully now and it turns out the "victim "  is a bit of a bully herself to the "middle" one.
Thanks for the advice

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grinling

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Re: Feeding advice please
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2015, 22:11 »
If poss, keep the treated hen in a separate pen, but next to, the other 2 hens.
Eggshells are porous so trying to stain the eggs will contaminate them. Have a good look at the hens to see if there are differences in appearance.
Have more than one feeder and drinker as well as oyster and grit.
Do they free range?
Roberta,my bantam, went from mash to pellets when moving home. I tried crushing pellets!!!
Mine are currently trying a new pecking order.



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