feral cat – mauled chicken – and solutions

I may not have mentioned that about 5 weeks ago a hen was taken by a predator, which reduced their number to 10 (1 rooster and 9 hens).   Each morning a timer opens the coop door when the sun is well up and the chickens emerge to a 5ft high wire enclosed paddock.  Except for 2 chickens - Randa and Wanda (from wanderer) who would fly over the fence to the greener grass the other side.  Well 5 weeks ago Wanda was not to be seen except for a scattering of her feathers.  The chickens at the time Read more [...]

mites on the chicken

The Ameraucana has been less energetic lately.  Though she eats with relish there is little determination and if even a junior hen approaches her bowl she moves away.  Therefore she eats separately from the others.  She has been looking bedraggled and this morning she was in the nest box though she no longer lays eggs nor was she being pestered by the rooster. Time for an epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) bath. But why so many brown flecks of dust in the water?  Or I assumed they were Read more [...]

success with a broody hen

Our broody hen kept brooding.  Each night I would remove her from the eggs she was safeguarding and, after a quick sup, she would go back to the nesting box.  And so it continued night after night for a week.   Our research indicated that if she was kept in a place where her underside was cool, she might desist.  I located and positioned 6 cinder blocks on top of which I placed the wire cage we had used when they were newly born.  Since the bottom of the cage was a solid removable tray, which Read more [...]

“spa treatment” for Red

Of the 6 chickens inherited from my neighbor, Red has always been my favorite.  On one occasion I borrowed them to assist in the new vegetable area.  5 huddled in the furthest corner, Red came up to where I was forking up the soil and she focused on each upturning and snatched any worms or grubs that were unearthed.  I was told she was rescued from a commercial operation and that was why her beak was snipped - to minimize damage amongst stressed confined birds.  The bigger birds respected her Read more [...]

neem oil – a remedy for chickens

I have been intrigued with neem oil for some time. Something exotic about it. When I first planted tomatoes in north Georgia four years ago, and they were overwhelmed by aphids, neem came to my rescue. Aphids were never a problem again, not because of the neem but my voracious ladybug population. (This week I have been collecting my overwintering ladybug guests and ushering them out to their workplace in my vegetable garden). My second recourse to neem was a couple years ago when the stinkbugs arrived. Read more [...]

responsibility to animals

I had a good time at the Georgia Organics annual conference - its 15th and my 7th.  The Friday workshops and farm visit and the Saturday educational sessions were excellent and the two keynote speakers have national repute and lived up to expectations.  At my breakfast table on Friday morning was an organic livestock farmer.  I asked him a question which was triggered by the assistance I am providing to two ailing chickens:  "What do you do when one of your animals get sick?"  His answer was Read more [...]

not always clear sailing

It is good, I suppose, to be reminded occasionally of how fallible we are. I have, or I should say "had", a pair of Speckled Sussex hens - acquired with the other 3 different pairs as youngsters and, at the time of writing, less than a year old.  For the past few weeks the Speckled Sussex had been acting out of sorts, not running up to the fence to greet me (in the expectation of handouts) as the others did, and preferring to huddle down next to each other.  I thought this was a temporary malaise, Read more [...]