A frustrated chicken keeper in need of advice!

Discussion in 'General Chicken Discussion' started by markhorsley68, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. markhorsley68

    markhorsley68 New Member

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    Hi guys,
    I'm at a low point in my chicken keeping at the moment and in need of some advice.
    Where to start!...I had 18 chickens and a turkey this time 5 weeks ago (roughly) but in the following weeks I lost 2 Sumatran hens and a Wyandotte hen to bad health..they came from the same guy and the Wyandotte had a cough that I treated unsuccessfully and she died which was a shame but just one of those things.
    Then my friendly neighbourhood stoat moved in and started chewing the heads off my beloved flock,I lost 5 to him...2 blue haze,a silkie,a wheaten Marans and a pekin...this was very distressing but I forked out for a nice new shed for my remaining girls and made their pen as stoat proof as possible ( touch wood it's not been back since).
    Now my last remaining Wyandotte hen turns out to be a cockerel! And I opened up yesterday to find my beloved Sumatran bantam cockerel dead,no signs of stoat activity,he just died.
    And to top all of this off the remaining 9 hens and turkey don't like the new shed even though its a good size and is warm and dry.....and I've not had a single egg since September!!
    Do I just weather this period or am I doing something wrong?
    Thanks for any advice given.
    Mark.
     
  2. CharlieEcho

    CharlieEcho Junior Member

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    Sorry;

    Sorry to hear of your losses. A good fence and secure shed can't be stressed enough to keep the varmints at a distance. We failed to secure our hen house door one night and lost all our mature chickens and half our ducks to a mink. Bad for the mink, we also have a rat-baitbox inside the hen house. I think the mink got into the poison because I found it under our horse trailer a couple days later. The chickens cannot get at the poison. There's more to that mink story at another time.

    Clean, dry, warm, and well fed is the only other advice I can offer. I beleive in time they will come around.

    Good luck and hang in there.
     

  3. markhorsley68

    markhorsley68 New Member

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    A trap in the chicken shed sounds like a good idea..I think I'll try that if the stoat turns up again.
    Thanks for that CharlieEcho.
     
  4. shickenchit

    shickenchit New Member

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    Always have isolation/quarantine cages/pens to seperate them totally from the rest. I would seperate all first timers upon arrival, and seperate others as needed. Also monitor them as often as possible, watch closely for subtle changes, in eyes, beak-mouth,nostrils, breathing, movement, appetite, H2O intake, the sooner you find any problems the better for all involved. Have basic first aid kit on hand, (wound care (blue kote, neosporin, tape, gauze) respiratory disease (Vetrx at feed store it works very well if you catch eyes weeping, wheezing early on).. Have saved a ton of young uns (pullets) with it.

    Had chickens 40 years, best advice is... Careful Where you get em. If you can't see where they come from, (pens, coops, barns) ya know like at flea markets, side of the road, ad in paper willing to meet you or deliver.. (Same goes with all animals, backyard breeders). Some folks just makin money or someone doing it for the animals, chickens, people and bragging rights to provide quality birds.. Disease is bad.. And spread quickly.

    Good Luck in the future...
     
  5. markhorsley68

    markhorsley68 New Member

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    Good advice shicken chit,I should've known with the guy with the wyandottes, his place was a sh*thole,thought I was rescuing the birds I took but I just infected my birds instead.

    I'll know next time.
     
  6. BlackCrowFarm

    BlackCrowFarm Junior Member

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    We quarantine any new bird for at least 30 days, you would be surprised what stress can bring out in a bird. We also worm the chicken & cut nails at this time too.

    Very few poultry will go & roost in a new house/coop right away. I would lock them in at night & keep the feed in there until they get used to their new digs, you may have to do this for a couple of week.

    Sorry to read about the stout, few years back we had a young mink take out over half of our rose combed bantams, thank goodness one of our dogs took care of the mink.
     
  7. kimberley

    kimberley New Member

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    I had to get a live rescue trap because of raccoons. A raccoon will get in one way or another. but he could have been trying to get in and the birds just overstressed and died. but ALWAYS quarantine new birds first. they can get stressed from anything. clean coop and everything before you get more.
     
  8. Pinkter

    Pinkter New Member

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    I had to put two different locks on my coop. One night a raccoon unlatched the lock and helped himself. It's unfortunate that we have to learn how to protect them the hard way.
     
  9. markhorsley68

    markhorsley68 New Member

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    Thanks for all of the good advice guys...I'll certainly quarantine from now on and a trap in the coop is. Great idea.
     
  10. shickenchit

    shickenchit New Member

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    Good luck Mark... Keep us posted..
     
  11. markhorsley68

    markhorsley68 New Member

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    Will keep you's posted
     
  12. markhorsley68

    markhorsley68 New Member

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    Terrible news today,got a phone call to say Alan,my beautiful partridge brahma hen got attacked by the stoat,my favourite bird!...dashed home from work (300yds) to find her still bleeding and my flock scattered,feathers everywhere and in the corner of the pen my little buff Plymouth Rock bantam, who is cuddly tame is lying in shock,blood on her neck where the stoat has got her but not enough to kill her,I've took her inside where it's warm to see if she pulls around.
    Devastated...feel like giving up chicken keeping.
     
  13. CharlieEcho

    CharlieEcho Junior Member

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    Trapping;

    I don't know where you live but it's trapping season where I live. There is a fellow near here that traps animals for the fur. You might check locally. You might also set a trap of your own. We have small live traps and one large trap. We purchased ours at a farm store near by.

    The man who traps near us places his trap inside an 8" black plastic tile. I don't recal what he used as bait. He recently stopped by to show me a mink he'd trapped not far from our home. Our chickens are the larger breeds but I don't think even a bantum can enter the smaller live trap, while a mink or stoat, they're the same aren't they, should.

    Sorry again to hear of your trouble.
     
  14. markhorsley68

    markhorsley68 New Member

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    I've spent most of this evening setting traps and snares,gotta catch it soon,I'm down to 8 from 19 birds!
     
  15. markhorsley68

    markhorsley68 New Member

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    My Buff Plymouth Rock was no better this morning,so she's gone too.

    While checking the remaining birds over I noticed the stoat has also had a grip of my welsummer's neck,she's lethargic but not right at all...gotta catch this thing before it cleans me out
     
  16. Energyvet

    Energyvet New Member

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    So sorry you're dealing with that crap. Heartbreaking!
     
  17. piglett

    piglett Senior Member

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    man oh man, sorry for your losses
    i guess it could happen to any of us if the rite animal shows up
    i would say get this thing 1st
    then re-group & add a stout fence
    it's a 2nd layer of protection for your flock

    the only thought i had on your new coop & no eggs was to add another window so they get more sun
    but with all this crazyness going on i'm sure the hens are all stressed out

    also look on craigs list for a couple mean ole roosters
    once they are seen to be good & healthy
    let them take on that critter
    maybe it will think twice once a few big roos with huge spurs jump all over it
    i know some roos just go into crazy mode when something wants to mess with their girls


    good luck
    piglett
     
  18. fuzziebutt

    fuzziebutt Flocker

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    So sorry! It is crapola when there is a massacre, and it still breaks my heart to hear about it. Silly question, but what is a stoat? :confused:
     
  19. Lady_Alia

    Lady_Alia New Member

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    I had to google it, it's like a weasel.
     
  20. markhorsley68

    markhorsley68 New Member

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    It's from the same family as a weasel,the perfect predator,it's fearless and will have a go at anything,they've been known to take down kid goats!
    As far as the egg problem,my remaining birds are stressed to death,I expect to lose my welsummer to stress,she got a little nip on the neck but seems to be very stressed,not mixing etc,the pekin who lost her sister won't come out of the coop,her comb is very pale,the others all hang around the other end of the enclosure from where the carnage happened.
    I've got a Wyandotte cockerel that doesn't seem to interfere but he's only young,he might not have that boldness yet...I saw my turkey kill a rat with its feet yesterday so she could grow a pair and flatten this little sod!