Daphne one of our rescue Brahma's was always a bit quiet - from day one she slept a lot and sometimes stumbled when she preened under her wings - I hoped it was just because she was a bit stressed and getting used to the new surroundings and girls.
But she's got worse over the last few days and looks to be in pain when she walks, so we took her to the vets on Friday.
She behaved really well despite been one of the more flighty hens, she's not very used to human contact yet - but that's definitely changing after getting poked and prodded at the vets. The vet said they couldn't feel anything wrong in the feet or legs, and that it wasn't egg-binding or other lumps so could possibly be a simple sprain/swelling, or something more ominous such as arthritis - even though she's so young - or some kind of hip defect.
She's having Loxicom meds injected into her beak every evening (which you can guess she hates, and is quite strongly expressing her displeasure at this!) - which is an anti-inflammatory and pain-reliever for dogs but ok for hens in small doses... It won't "fix" what's wrong with her but might give some relief and chance for the swelling to go down if it is some kind of muscle injury, say if she jumped down from a perch the wrong way or something like that.
The vet said after a week we should see how she is - if she's better, great, but if not then the options become "expensive", or "terminal"... :(
She fell asleep in Helen's arms the first night we gave her the meds. She is so sweet (Daphne! Though Helen is too.)
Fingers crossed for her.
It's someone's 90th birthday today. I can't say I'm going to particularly make an effort to celebrate the Queen's birthday, mostly because it's a normal working day (if it had been an extra bank holiday you can bet I'd be extra-happy to celebrate with her! For someone who's lead such a privileged and cushty life, it's the least she could have done!)
So yeah, happy birthday, or something.
Turn the vacuum on right next to them ;)
We could tell Aubree was blind right away, but we didn't know she was deaf for a few days. It was only when we saw she wasn't reacting to Kasper barking or the vacuum that we thought "oh no! Is she deaf as well?!"
Here's a video that shows the vacuum being turned on and used right next to her, yet she doesn't react at all:
I watched Velma laying an egg next to the nest box where Maude is sitting on eggs, and after she'd laid, Maude reached across and gently rolled Velma's fresh egg to her nest and sat back down, and I got a glimpse of how many eggs she's sat on!
Bear in mind Maude is a tiny Lavendar Pekin - she's completely fluffed up to cover all the eggs and keep them warm - I just wish she'd realise they're not going to hatch and come out and have something to eat and drink!
Renee showing off her feathers, she even has lovehearts :)
She's becoming one of my favourites (if I had favourites!! Don't tell the others!) as she's really laid back for a supposedly flighty breed, and her eggs are so amazing... She's also one of the first to have a nosy at what I'm doing when I'm in the coop (just after Ariel!)
I was sure we'd lost another chicken last night :(
Scarlet had just rung on a video chat as I was checking on the hens, so I showed her them all, then realised Maude our little Lavendar Pekin was missing - I found her in the nest box slumped, all mis-shapen and fluffed up, head resting on the ground eye open, breathing slowly... so I instantly feared the worst.
I reached in to mover her, and the little bugger pecked me viciously! (well, as viciously as something that small can anyway).
She was just broody! Thank god... I really thought she was a goner!
After turfing her off (even mealworms wouldn't move her), I rescued the five eggs under her (one of which is a rubber one to show the girls where to lay so she'd have had an even harder time hatching that one).
She's on the nest now - but at least I know she's not half-dead.
Our hens really enjoy working for their treats - here they are emptying two treat balls (poor Mabel and Maude the pekins don't get much of a look-in so we're going to get more for them)
As well as laying her eggs from the highest perch so they smash on the coop floor, she still enjoys running around like a loon...
This one was only a short one as it was getting dark by the time we'd got home and sorted... but Coppice Pond in St Ives estate was looking very pretty (apart from the bits fenced off?!)
When Helen set off for work I found a very wet and bedraggled caterpillar in the road - I got a picture of him here:
I *think* he's a Lunar Y. Underwing (unless you know better!) and I tried to look after him by putting him somewhere safe but I'm not sure if he's escaped in our kitchen somewhere!!!
Will let you know if he turns up.
We're very lucky to live near some beautiful countryside right on our doorstep, and we don't get out and about in it as much as we should...
Here's a couple of pics from our walk.
I gave the girls some bio-yoghurt last night (oh ladi-da, we don't get such niceties!) and the first thing Mrs P did was stick her whole head in it... Several times.
I'm so happy summer is on the way - I get to see the hens on a night!
Hi guys! Exciting news! We're changing format - goodbye chickens and hello bride-to-be hen-parties!
Ok, that's a really crap idea for an April fool's... I can't think of anything better so I'm afraid that's it. ;)
Yep, today it is World Bipolar Day - a day about spreading hope, furthering understanding and squashing stigma.
Bipolar disorder is characterised by extreme mood episodes - intense depression and, depending on the type of Bipolar, episodes of mania or hypomania.
Mood episodes tend to last weeks, if not months at a time - there's a common misconception where people think someone with Bipolar experiences many extreme shifts in mood a day. This is actually incredibly rare - someone with rapid cycling Bipolar is characterized as having four or more mood episodes in a year.
Bipolar is a lifelong illness and, although it can be treated and symptoms vastly reduced if you are lucky, there is no cure.
People with Bipolar are very misunderstood; there's this thinking that Bipolar is simply feeling 'happy and sad', and so Bipolar is no big deal - EVERYBODY feels happy and sad! People with Bipolar that aren't able to work are labelled as 'lazy' or milking the system - no, we're simply struggling to live and too ill to handle a job.
Comments such as "I'm so Bipolar!" and "Isn't the weather Bipolar today?" only help further stigma, shame and misunderstanding.
Stigma also materialises in the advice given to people wirh Bipolar. Here's just a handful of lovely advice I've heard many times over the last few years:
Finally I leave you with this...it's a selection of physical illnesses / health conditions, with the injured party being given advice that people with mental illnesses are often given :)
I finally got round to adding a page that gives you all the info on the new girls - and how to tell them apart!
It's on the menu at the bottom of the page under "meet the girls".
Renee seems to be ok! She's laying lovely white eggs:
It's actually Mabel that's causing us a bit of concern now - she's been acting a little strangely - going to 'bed' and roosting for several hours during the day and then going to the nest box then coming back out - hopefully it's just "first egg" worries and she'll get the hang of it. She's out and about and eating and drinking now so fingers crossed...
We've had 6 eggs today I think!
We also had Scarlet's Quail eggs for tea the other night - they were really cute - mini fried eggs! In the middle is a hen egg:
Poor Renee gave us a scare last night - she's still with us though :)
At about 4pm yesterday I noticed someone had laid an egg in the dust-bathing pit in the run - this is pretty unusual as hens like to lay their eggs in a nice dark nest so it usually means something like a bad mite infestation (which makes the hens not want to visit the nest box and get bitten)...
But the other hens had laid in the nest box - I rang Helen and asked her to go collect the egg as I didn't want the other hens to peck and eat the egg (this can lead to egg-eating when they realise they are good to eat!)
Helen told me that the egg had a bit of blood on the shell - I wasn't too worried as they are only just starting to lay and things might be a bit of a squeeze whilst they get the hang of it - if there's a lot of blood, or every time an egg is laid it can be a problem though.
I rewound the hencam (what a great feature!) and found out the culprit was... Renee. I think it was only her second egg, so it didn't seem too much of a worry.
However when I went to check on them later that night, I saw Renee roosting and her bottom was a bit messy with a bit of blood and discharge (sorry, readers!) and she strained and a weird white thing appeared, only to disappear shortly after - I realised it was another egg?!
So we sprung into action, ran her a warm bath, and soaked her in it for 15 minutes - she was a bit flighty at first (she is the least human-friendly of our hens typically), but I think eventually she liked it and actually sat with Helen holding her in a towel whilst she blow-dried her with a hairdryer (in the pic above).
I phoned the vet and got an appointment in the nest 25 minutes (honestly, why can't GP's be like this?!) and half an hour later we were explaining things to the vet. She told us as she was a bit flighty she'd take Renee in the back so another nurse could help hold her whilst she examined her, so me and Helen waited in the waiting room for 10 minutes.
She came back holding another bloody egg! She said "I'd like to take credit for this, but in the time it took me to carry her from the examination room to the back room, out it popped on it's own!". She said it might have been the bath that helped it along, or just been taken out into unfamiliar surroundings.
She also said the egg wasn't fully formed - it had a thin papery shell that wasn't shiny which would have made it very hard to pass through - she thought it was because Renee wasn't getting enough calcium. I explained she really did as they had good quality layer's pellets, two different tubs containing different sizes of grit and calcium / oyster shell, and vits + spice + calcium in their food as a supplement too.
I told her that there had been a fox scare a couple of days ago which I know can disrupt egg production, and she said "ahhh! that probably explains it!" - she had also felt for another egg and there wasn't any others at the moment so hopefully it she will get back to normal but for now we'll be keeping a close eye on Renee.
At the moment she's sat on the new high branches (they are a good addition to the coop aren't they?) and preening herself so hopefully she feels ok - I'm hoping she waits a few days before laying another egg just to give her a bit of time to recover...
So, the upshot was, Renee laid the most expensive egg in the world (it cost me over £26!)...
The longer days mean the girls are starting to lay... lots of eggs!
I need to start making more pancakes... :)
Sometimes it seems that we're not just watching hencam, but the girls are watching us too...