This is my blog about the day to day lives of my little flock of pet chickens. They're a happy little flock, although they're totally crackers! If you want a laugh, they'll gladly give you one.


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Friday, 25 April 2014

Yet another visit to the vet!

I'm beginning to think I should rent a cottage in the extensive grounds attached to the vet's practice that I use.   We go for years without any need for a vet at all, then it's been a succession of visits over the past few months.  At least this time there was a happier ending.

We noticed that Rebecca wasn't looking so good.  She was spending an awful lot of time wandering off to stand by herself.  She had her feathers all puffed out and was looking distinctly unhappy.   She seemed to be eating and drinking OK and her tail was up.  But this was unusual behaviour, even for a little odd-ball like her.   Then she went off to the nest box and when she emerged, we went to collect her egg.  There wasn't one, but Rebecca was standing by herself again.

When we checked her over, we noticed a white, sticky substance dribbling from her vent.  Worried that an egg had shunted itself the wrong way and ended up in her tummy area (which could lead to egg yolk peritonitis), we rushed her off to the vet.   He thought it could indeed be EYP as her tummy area was swollen.  

The prognosis for a hen with this problem is not good, but we all felt we should try and treat her. She responded well ... until a couple of days ago.  Then she looked distinctly poorly, so off we went to the vet again.

Now Rebecca doesn't cluck, she squeaks - it's a really weird sound for a chicken to make.  But as I said earlier, she is an odd-ball.  She was making a quiet little squeak all the way to the vet, but it sounded as if she was in a lot of pain.  I steeled myself for the fact that we might be coming back without her.

As we pulled into the car park she gave a yell, which was followed by a thump.   She had laid an egg!

When the vet examined her, we were delighted to learn that the swelling in her tummy had disappeared.  He thought the painful egg laying process may have been as a result of a residual inflammation somewhere along her reproductive system.   He advised an injection that will stop her laying any eggs at all for around 5 months, so she won't have any more pain and her little body can recuperate.

I can't tell you how happy I was to be bringing her back home with me.  I know the Araucanas and Polands are 4 now and they won't go on forever.  But I'm really not ready to lose any more of my little flock just yet.

Rebecca on a good day

Monday, 7 April 2014

Yesterday started off well.   We were having a cup of tea in the garden when we were treated to a parade of sheep through the field next door.  They'd all been away for a few days and had now arrived back with their new-born lambs in tow.  Wonderful sight!   We knew the youngsters were due any time now and were so pleased to be able to see their first foray into the big, wide world.

We still haven't found any young bantams to add to our depleted flock - it's a bit early yet, if I'm honest.  We really miss having Mad Irene, Maggie and Titian around.  As No. 1 Son says, they were big personalities as well as being big hens.

We suspect that Punk is laying her egg and then eating it.   We haven't actually caught her at it, but we've only been getting one Araucana egg of late, instead of the usual two.   Added to that, some of the bedding in the nest box often looks discoloured, a very similar hue to egg yolk, although there's never any shell lying around.   We also noticed that Punk had some desiccated gunk round her beak.   Call me cynical, but I did wonder if it was the remains of that morning's eggy breakfast.   The other day I put two newly laid eggs in a plant pot for safety while I sat nearby and chatted to the chickens.  Fizz spotted them and did his "there's food here" call to the girls.   Hmmmmmm.

Yesterday also finished badly for Punk.  All of a sudden she started flinging herself headfirst at the new bit of fence!  We picked her up and calmed her down, but her little heart was racing like mad.  She did this once before, last year.  Then, as now, we could see nothing obviously wrong; no insect bites or wounds.  We think she may simply have eaten something that stung her as payback.