Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

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Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by Eleanor on Thu Jan 08, 2015 4:47 pm

I swear, every animal I've come into contact with over the last two weeks has bitten or otherwise tried to maim me me! Gnawed by a very mouthy working Gordon Setter, pecked by an angry chicken, nibbled by a degu, clawed by the pub cat, kicked by a New Zealand White rabbit, among others.

The rabbit was absolutely lovely, though. Virtually blind, even for an albino, as she was used for cosmetics testing before she arrived on site. Also very big girl, at 13 lbs! I had to use both of my arms to support her; even then, she was making my arms ache after a minute! But she was very friendly, cuddly and warm. I'd been sitting on my bum in a muddy chicken enclosure all morning, with the temperature only one or two degrees above freezing - pouring with rain and windy! Could hardly feel my fingers! tongue So it was very nice to take some time off to cuddle a rabbit, even if she did play Thumper on my lap.

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by Lorraine on Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:22 pm

That doesn't sound like much fun! Did you get your marks for your chicken video project yet - or have I missed it somewhere?

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by Caryll on Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:19 am

I don't think it's quite finished yet. They've put together the enrichment tyres & the chooks seem to like it! Although I think the gulls, or was it crows, ate the spaghetti!

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by Lorraine on Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:24 am

ooops!

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by Eleanor on Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:56 am

Not quite finished yet, I'm afraid! I still have over an hour of video footage left to edit. tongue

The pigeons ate the spaghetti, unfortunately, but the chickens seem fairly interested in their enrichment!

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by Caryll on Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:19 am

Don't you just love pigeons!!!!!

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All that is gold does not glitter;
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the old that is strong does not wither;
deep roots are not reached by the frost - Tolkein
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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by Lorraine on Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:21 pm

Eleanor wrote:Not quite finished yet, I'm afraid! I still have over an hour of video footage left to edit. tongue

The pigeons ate the spaghetti, unfortunately, but the chickens seem fairly interested in their enrichment!

Chickens are brighter than most people think!  

Caryll wrote:Don't you just love pigeons!!!!!

No, I don't love pigeons!

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by Eleanor on Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:54 pm

They're very smart girls! They haven't yet figured out how to bathe in their dust bath, but they've set to work pecking out the insects and grain.

I'm alright with wood pigeons, provided they stay away from the chicken enrichment. tongue

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by Shisa on Sat Jan 10, 2015 7:25 am

Oh no, someone can start filming you for an animal attacks video laughing laughing laughing

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by tracyp on Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:31 am

Give me chooks over pigeons anyday!

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by Eleanor on Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:15 pm

I plan on filming my next degu encounter! laughing I get bitten, without fail, every time I'm in their enclosure!

I think I prefer pigeons, but the chickens are fun to work with. Sadly, there are only a handful left after a fox got into the enclosure last year, killing over thirty chickens, six ducks, two geese and two turkeys.

Having said that, there is a morbid bright side. The chickens were all rescued battery and broilers and had incredibly bad problems with practically every ectoparasite imaginable - in particular, red mites, scaly leg mites, northern fowl mites, lice and chiggers. They were also loaded with respiratory diseases.

No matter how often and thoroughly the poultry were treated against all of these conditions and infestations, the ones with the weakest immune systems just couldn't shake it off. So the conditions would remain with them and reinfect the stronger poultry.

The fox killed those weaker poultry, leaving most of the strongest behind. It also got hold of the largest of the birds, sadly, but left behind the healthier, quicker, medium-sized ones. The remaining poultry are now in very good health, as they've had a chance to recover without reinfection.

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by tracyp on Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:21 pm

Short answer, enclosures must be fox proof. &1 fox wouldn't kill 30 chooks in one night.!

Red, leg & lice... plant lavender! They hate it!

Why was the enclosure not fox proof?

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by Lorraine on Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:26 pm

Red mites were the bane of my life the year before last sad

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by tracyp on Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:28 pm

Lorraine wrote:Red mites were the bane of my life the year before last sad
here too! I hate the buggers...

Put lavendar blooms in the coup. They're gone in 48 hrs!

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by Lorraine on Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:29 pm

I'll try that! Thanks for the tip.

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by tracyp on Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:44 pm

I have planted it in their pen next to the coup. As mites or lice despise the scent. The chooks dont mind the scent, but don't like the taste of the plant so they dont distroy the plant, but the flowers... they dont mind them in their coup so, they nest on them. I pick a few buds daily & put them in the coup when I colllect the eggs. Works a treat.

A little trick I learnt from my dear old mum. hug

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by Lorraine on Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:03 pm

It's funny, I plant it around my roses to keep greenfly away - with mixed success. happy

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by Eleanor on Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:41 pm

tracyp wrote:Short answer, enclosures must be fox proof. &1 fox wouldn't kill 30 chooks in one night.!

Red, leg & lice... plant lavender! They hate it!

Why was the enclosure not fox proof?

A fox, once it has gained access to an enclosure, will kill as many chickens as it possibly can. And there would need to be a hell of a lot of lavender planted in order to dissuade parasites; the enclosure is enormous, which also goes as a response to your question. The chickens had been switched to a temporary enclosure for quarantine due to illness, with the technicians unaware that the workmen who built the enclosure had forgotten to reinforce the buried area of the fence line on one side. It's all very well to fox-proof a small or indoor enclosure, but in an area like this, a large outdoor enclosure, particularly a rotation one which must serve to potentially accommodate about twenty different species easily, is not easy to 100% fox-proof.

All of the animals on site receive an excellent standard of care. The technicians (and students) are all very aware of the correct way to maintain animals and have standards far higher than those found in most other animal establishments. What happened was a freak accident. They were aware that there was a risk of predation upon transferring the unwell animals, despite being unaware of the hidden flaw in the construction, and had to take that risk. Had they not done so, they would have run an even greater risk of transmitting zoonoses to the other animals on the unit.

Lorraine wrote:Red mites were the bane of my life the year before last sad

They're a nuisance! Although they were the easiest to get rid of, since they didn't live on the birds, but rather lived in the enrichment. The parasites that lived on the birds were the biggest pest. sad

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by Caryll on Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:12 pm

Yes, a fox will kill dozens of chooks in a very short space of time once their blood lust takes hold. They are incredibly fast & single minded!

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the old that is strong does not wither;
deep roots are not reached by the frost - Tolkein
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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by Eleanor on Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:30 pm

People underestimate foxes. If there are twenty chickens in one space, they'll kill twenty chickens; if there are a hundred chickens, they'll kill a hundred chickens. They may only take one or two for food, but that doesn't mean they won't decapitate as many as they can reach.

Now that the chickens are healthy again, they've been moved back to their poultry enclosure to be with the others. Star is also given full range of the enclosure through an adjoining gate during the night as an extra precaution.

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by Caryll on Sun Jan 11, 2015 8:54 am

...nobody crosses Star!!!!!!!!

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All that is gold does not glitter;
not all those who wander are lost;
the old that is strong does not wither;
deep roots are not reached by the frost - Tolkein
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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by Eleanor on Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:18 am

She's actually a really effective guarder, for a female. Usually, geldings are better for guarding, but she's quite aggressive.

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by tracyp on Sun Jan 11, 2015 12:11 pm

Cheers.
& to clarify... you grow lavender, dry the heads & sprinkle it in the coup.

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by Eleanor on Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:57 pm

It isn't the method which is the problem; it's the size of the enclosure, among other things. Their enclosure is at least 100m in length and almost double that in width, with dozens of large coops and structures to offer adequate shelter. Take into account that the soil is incredibly boggy, hence the need for dust bathing enrichment, and doesn't offer a very good habitat for lavender. The lavender would need to be grown elsewhere, taking up valuable space and money which could be used on the animals themselves. Even sprinkling a small amount of lavender around every coop would not suffice, as the chickens also shelter overnight in the nettle clumps.

There's also the issue that a medically untested herb cannot be used as a substitute for appropriate veterinary care. These animals must be treated according to current legislation.

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

Post by tracyp on Sun Jan 11, 2015 2:11 pm

Well... ok? I'll let my chook farmer friends that breed for Steggles, (one of our biggest suppliers in Australia) know that they are incorrect &/ or impractical.
I'm sure they will appreciate the help. They have about 8,000 chooks! They only use natural remedies whenever possible.
He would tell you if the pen is boggy, you need some sand a few bales of hay!

Sorry, but I'm pretty darn sure they know what they are doing & talking about! They've been doing it over 40yrs so... I listen to them & their experience.

Mum also used lavender back in 1962? & has done ever since. I do not use insecticides, I use different herbs as told by len & I have never had a mite, lice problem so me thinks... with age....he knows better.

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Re: Sorry I've not been on much - busy being bitten again!

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