Monday, September 04, 2006

Chicken troubles

We have had a bad few days with our new hens.

About 3 days after moving into their new home with us, Scramble the Leghorn became more and more quiet, not wanting to come out the house, and eventually she stopped eating.

She just stood with her feather fluffed up, wings drooping, and generally looking depressed.

We didn't know what to do. We isolated her from the others with food and water, but she just kept getting weaker and weaker until she couldn't stand up. It was heartbreaking and we felt terrible.

Dave, who gave us our hens, was brilliant and now Scramble is back with him in his hospital wing, having intensive care. Despite being all floppy her eyes were still bright and her comb still looked good so he thought it was worth persevering a bit longer. I'm not sure how she is tonight.

Dave thought that it was the stress of moving had tipped her over the edge. Our other two birds, Omelet and Margo, are absolutely fine; active, growing like mad and becoming very friendly. I have tortured myself wondering what I did to stress Scramble so much, but as Dave reassured me 'thats chickens for you'.

Dave really kindly gave us another leghorn, who we have called Scramble 2. She seemed to slot right into life here, and it also perked up Omelet and Margo too. Scramble 2 is infinitely more outgoing than Scramble 1, and doesn't get spooked as easily.

I would like to say that everything is good now, but it's early days and Scramble 1 looked ok at first. I will be holding my breath until the weekend.

I knew that keeping chickens wouldn't be all plain sailing but I didn't expect such heartbreak in such a short time. We love having the birds in the garden and I can't imagine being without them now, even after just 8 days.

I hope you don't think I'm a terrible person. I promise I did my best, and I would never intentionally do anything to harm my beautiful hens.

Here is a picture from this evening showing Scramble 2, Omelet and Margo devouring some leaves we've discovered they love.


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