Posts Tagged ‘Keeping chickens’


Every few weeks the Silver Campine chicken “Silvie” doesn’t lay every day, but the day after the no egg day we get a huge double yoker egg from her.  Even though she is the most timid out of our 4 backyard chickens she is the only one that has ever laid a double yoke egg!  She is a very special hen!


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Goldie the Vorwerk chicken has been laying for 7 days, the middle row starting from the left is day one, across to day 6. I cant wait to eat them!!

All our chickens are laying now, at the top of the photo are the appenzeller eggs, then the middle row are the Vorwerk eggs, they are a lovely creamy peach colour, and the bottom row are the Silver Campine eggs, they are very similar to the Appenzeller, they are a slightly different colour and a touch slimmer.  The Silver campine has laid 3 double yolkers in a really short time too!  Her eggs got bigger and bigger when she started to lay, and that was why!  None of the other chickens have laid any double yolk eggs, so even though Silvie, the Silver Campine is super timid she is a very special chicken.

Also our Appezellers had their 1st birthday on Monday, Happy birthday Tufty and Whitey!

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These are the last 3 days of eggs from the new layer, every day they have got bigger! I can’t imagine them getting much bigger than that though, todays is the same size as a large supermarket egg. I’m still not sure who is laying it!

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I have just been home and collected the eggs from our back garden chicken coop, the 2 on the left are the Appenzeller eggs. The 1 on the right is much bigger, over the last few days the 3rd egg has been much smaller, so hopefully this will be he size we get from now on. I still don’t know which one is laying the Silver Campine or the Vorwerk! I’m going to order a video camera to hook up in the coop so I can find out.

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I’m getting concerned that our new chickens might be cockerels, they turned out to be much larger than I expected.  The Silver Campine chicken (Silvie) had a real growth spurt on her comb and wattles, her tail feathers are also getting longer!  Following a poke around on line it seems that cockerels will start crowing before they are 4 months old, our Silver Campine is 22 weeks old on sat so hopefully she is a she!!

Silver Campine Chicken picture

I would hate to have to get rid of her.  I don’t think the neighbours would like even more noise from our backyard chicken flock!

Silver Campine Chicken image

Yesterday however, Goldie the Vorwerk chicken squatted for the 1st time, so I’m pretty sure that the Vorwerk is a hen!  Hopefully we will have eggs from her soon.  She will also be approx. 22 weeks old on Saturday.  I wonder if her eggs will be distinguishable from the Silver Spangled Appenzeller eggs?  How exciting!!!!

Here is a video of Goldie the Vorwerk and Silvie the Silver Campine eating out of my hand, I put the Silver Appenzeller mafia in the other section of the run and closed the door to keep them out, poor Silvie is the bottom of the pecking order and is still so timid.  This way she gets some treats without getting bullied!  The Appenzellers, Tufty and Whitey were not happy at all, pacing back and forth along the mesh!

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What do you do if you have an injured chicken?

I came down stairs in the morning last Monday, made a cuppa, holding the lovely warm mug I went outside to let the Chickens out.  I slid the coop door open, out they all came, down the slope and straight to the food!  They walked over to the water and had a long drink.  As the weather is as cold as ever, I’m still taking the water in at night and bringing it back out in the morning.  As always I stood there in the chicken enclosure for a few minutes and watched them go about their morning business, checking everything was as it should be.

I noticed the Silver Appenzellers, Tufty and Whitey had blood splodges on their feathers.  So I checked them all over and Goldie the Vorwerk chicken had blood dribbling down her head, right next to her developing comb.

Poor Goldie, she was pecked by the Appenzeller!

chicken wound

I picked her up and Kev took a photo.  It looked like there was a puncture wound at the top of her head, a beak shaped one!  It seems that she has been pecked, most likely by one of the Silver Appenzellers.  Poor  thing.  I was so worried, I’ve read stories that if chickens get the taste for blood then they might start to really damage a chicken that is bleeding, kill them even.  I stood outside of the enclosure and watched for a little while longer , there was no trouble and everything seemed fine.  I had to leave them, I was late for work, the vets were not open at that time, so reluctantly I just left things as they were.

As soon as I got into work I called the chicken vet in Tarporley, Cheshire.  I explained what had happened and they suggested going home at lunch and see how bad it is then, it would be a good idea to rinse the wound with salt water, making sure not to knock the scab of if there was one.  If I was worried I should take her in to the vets later that day.

I went home at 12.30, and checked Goldie over again.  Not a sign of blood, or damage!  If I had not taken a photo I would have thought I’d imagined it!  The blood spots on the Appenzellers had also gone.  So based on that I took no further action.  Its been over a week now and there is no sign of injury or infection.

However since then I have done some research on what do you do if you have an injured chicken? How do you treat Cuts and Wounds in Chickens?

  • Small scratches cuts or abrasions should usually heal naturally
  • Severe open wounds require specialist clinical care, take your chicken to the vet.  Don’t tackled it at home.  (I have read some amazing stories of people patching up their chickens at home, I think I would rather go to a vet!)
  • If you find a bleeding chicken, or a chicken with cut or torn skin, take action fast!  Skin injuries need immediate attention
  • Chicken skin is thin and tears easily, and bleeding wounds are very attractive to other chickens.

To treat open wounds that don’t need stitches:

  • Hold a clean piece of lintless cloth or gauze over the wound
  • Trim feathers away from the edge of the wound
  • Wash the wound with warm mild soapy water
  • Rinse well with clean warm water
  • Trim away any loose bits of skin that will not heal
  • If the wound continues to bleed, use stypic (blood stopping) powder or pressure to stop it
  • Apply antibacterial ointment daily to help keep the wound free from bacteria
  • Place the chicken in a clean, separate area and check the wounds for infection several times a day
  • If infection sets in, clean the wounds two to three times daily
  • If the chicken can’t reach the area with its beak and the weather is warm, apply a wound dressing to prevent flies from laying eggs on the wound
  • Keep the chicken warm and quiet to prevent shock. If the chicken is very valuable to you, take it to a vet straight away.

Even though I would take my chicken to a vet rather than trying to stitch it up my self, I did find instructions on how to stitch up your pet chicken!  I have to recommend don’t do this at home.   Sometimes a vet will choose not to stitch up a wound.  If the wound has bacteria in it, (this might be caused by an animal attack) stitching is not the best idea.  It would trap the bacteria inside the wound and increase the risk of infection.  The chicken wound would have to heal from the inside – out.

You would keep the surface of the outside of the wound moist and clean by squirting saline solution over the surface twice daily.  I have nasal rinse sachets which I could use, if it is fine for my sinuses then it would be fine for the chickens!!

Chicken Wounds that might need stitches:

  • If the chicken wound is really deep and gaping or the chicken has skin missing it probably need stitches – take it to a vet!!
  • Butterfly stitches / paper stitches / steri strips (skin wound closure plasters) could be a good option.  I have these in our 1st aid box, they are super useful!!  The strip doesn’t stretch like a plaster, so they really hold the skin in place, I had not thought of using them on a chicken!
  • Suture needles with silk thread, or worst case scenario it seems you could use a sterilised sewing needle and cotton thread to stitch up your chicken
  • Stitches should not be very deep, no more than 1mm in to the skin
  • Sew the stitches 3mm apart then pull tight
  • The skin should be pulled together but don’t pull too tights.  You don’t want the skin to pucker
  • You can take the stitches out in 4 to 5 days
  • Apply an antibacterial cream every day to keep infection and bacteria at bay
  • Keep the injured chicken in a quiet safe place during recovery, ideally away from the other flock members.  You could put them in a dog / cat box, separate pen, bath tub etc

I found some of this information on the following sites, they are worth a read if you need more information:



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We have 2 Silver Spangled Appenzeller chickens, I wanted to share my experience, what I know about this breed, and tell you about the personality of Tufty and Whitey:

  • They are very attractive, they are white with little black speckles almost like spots.  They are like the Dalmatian of the chicken world!
  • Both are very vocal, particularly in the morning, even before you let them out of the coop, and throughout the day, I think Whitey is the noisiest, even though Tufty is the boss (Tufty wares a foot ring, it is sometimes hard to tell them apart  they are almost identical when stood together!)
  • They are Definitely intelligent, and very confident, if they know you have food they will jump on the table and beg for some, chatting to you like they think you speak chicken!
  • Loves to be free range
  • Don’t like to be enclosed in the chicken run – if they have had a taste of freedom!
  • Very good flyers, I clip one wing on each bird to be on the safe side.  I don’t clip both just in case they need to get away from a predator.  They can still fly with one wing clipped, they just are not as good at it!
  • They are apparently flighty, but ours only fly when threatened, or when they are deciding who is boss, or when they race down the garden to get treats from me!  I have never found them in the trees.  Only on the top of the coop, or on the bench.  I’m sure they could clear the 6 foot fences if they wanted to but I don’t think they have.
  • Very good foragers, when they are free ranging in the garden they eat hardly any pellets, they eat anything! (foods my chickens love)
  • Ours started to lay after 36 weeks
  • Lays white medium eggs, they are big for the size of bird.  Yolks are the same size as supermarket eggs, but there is slightly less egg white
  • Should lay between 150-220 eggs a year, everyone seems to have different figures, once they have laid for a year I will know how many we got!  We do normally get 2 a day though
  • Ours lay in the coop, sometimes in the nesting box, or just under the perch, I have never found eggs in the garden.
  • They squat about 2 weeks before they start to lay, every time you get close to them they squat!  Ours have carried on doing this as long as they are laying, but when they stop they also stop squatting!!
  • Once they start to squat, very easy to handle, if they are not squatting you would be lucky to catch one!!  We have tried to handle ours as much as possible, they are easier to pick up in the afternoon
  • They dont seem to get any more vocal after they have laid an egg
  • Ours have not gone broody
  • They are aggressive towards new flock members, but this did settle down after a week or 2 (for more information on introducing new chickens to a flock)
  • Average weight – Male 1.60 – 2.00kg (3.5 – 4.5 lb), Female 1.35 – 1.60kg (3 – 3.5 lb)  I will weigh mine and up date you
  • Classification – Light, Soft Feather
  • V-shaped, horn type comb with two small rounded spires and the unique “mohawk” crest points forward like the bonnets on the traditional costume bonnets worn by the ladies in the Appenzellerland region – Spitzhauben means pointed bonnet
  • Powerfull beak, bluish in colour, large deep cavernous nostrils and a fleshy knob at the front of the beak
  • Eyes dark brown
  • Comb and wattles bright red
  • Ear-lobes bluish-white
  • Shanks / Legs and feet blue
  • 4 toes
  • Hardy in winter

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