Laying summary – October 2014

November 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

From drought to flood, as is so often the way:

Eggs Oct 2014

This month was a tie between Summer and Vivien, a tad down from last month but with a still quite impressive 28 eggs each. And once again Rain was in third place, with 26 eggs. Hooray for the sisters!

Because the productivity of our girls deserves to be celebrated, here are the month’s other layers, in order:

  • Jeannie – 24
  • Holly, Olivia and Kali – 21
  • Remy – 20
  • Freya – 19
  • Adelaide, Charlotte and May – 18
  • Imogen – 17
  • Gabby and Saffy – 16
  • Ella and Poppy – 1

So there you go. A bit of a sudden drop-off, but a frankly magnificent effort collectively.
Massive quantities of custard, meringue, sponge cake and soufflé, anyone?

Summer at 13 weeks Vivien at 13 weeks Rain at 13 weeks


Losing Lily

October 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

Lily, 13 Nov 2013Yesterday we lost Lily. The day after her 7th birthday.

It was as simple and peaceful as it could have been – I went to let them out in the morning, and Lily was dead, lying in the nestbox. No sign of any injury, no illness, nothing untoward at all. She just … died, having given us exactly seven years of her presence. My beautiful Lily-pilly.

We’ve buried her in the berry-glade, under a dwarf almond tree, surrounded by strawberries and blueberries. The bed next to her mum, Bessie.

She leaves us three very beautiful daughters – Freya, Remy and May. And a lot of memories.

My beautiful girl.

More Drama with Dorothy

October 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

When Dorothy met Stan …Dorothy’s done it again.

Yesterday I was sitting in the yard with Stan, Dorothy and Adelaide, enjoying the sun and the peace. October is a beautiful time of year in our garden, with huge amounts of blossom everywhere. So there I was, with my chooks, feeling happy about the world.

And then I realised I’d put my hand in a small puddle of bright red blood.

It really wasn’t a good feeling. I grabbed each of the chooks in turn and gave them a thorough inspection, but it was Dorothea Fluffy-bum again. Not the previous wound, thank heavens – that’s healed up really well, with barely a mark to show for it. This time she’s somehow managed to slice herself directly under her cloaca. No idea how – I couldn’t find anything sharp in their house or run or yard, and there was no other trace of blood on anything or anyone. So the how remains a mystery, for now at least.

Anyway, back in to the vets we went. Again she’s managed to make it impressive but also superficial, which is good. They operated on her this morning, and I brought her home with yet another course of antibiotics for another week or even two inside. Obviously it’s not a good location as far as potential infection goes, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on her.

Ah, the joys of chicken keeping. It’s the glamour that does it for me …

Laying summary – September 2014

October 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

And now production is in overdrive:

Eggs Sept 2014

The winner this month with 30 eggs – an egg every day for the whole month – is Vivien. But only one behind her is Summer on 29, and one more behind her is Rain. The three sisters have come into full lay with some gusto! In fourth place was May with 23 eggs (which in any other month would be impressive for a pullet just starting out, but this month barely rates. Poor May!).

But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Thirty eggs in thirty days from Vivien is impressive, yes. But she’s even better than that. She laid an egg every day from August 24th right through until yesterday (October 5th) – that’s 42 eggs in a row. Easily the best laying streak we’ve ever had.

Only one word for that: wow!

Vivien at 13 weeks Summer at 13 weeks Rain at 13 weeks

Laying summary – August 2014

September 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

Things are finally back to proper production in the egg department:

Eggs Aug 2014

As you can see, all five of Adelaide’s girls have started laying. Vivien on the 6th, Rain on the 7th, Kali and May together on the 9th, and Summer on the 12th. And Vivien seems to be prone to double-yolkers, laying four of them in her first two weeks of laying.

But the winner for August was once again Jeannie Bean, with 26 eggs in 31 days. Hooray! Second place was a tie between Remy and newcomer Vivien, with 22 eggs each. Well done girls!

Jeannie Remy Vivien at 13 weeks

Holly’s turn to meet Auntie Pauline

August 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

Holly, experiencing Doubt, July 2011Oh  lord, Holly has been in the wars. It’s a horrible saga.  And I have to warn those of you with delicate sensibilities that this post scores fairly high on the ewwwww factor.

Holly had a massive prolapse on Monday (the 25th)  – at least as bad as Sasha’s. I saw it within a matter of an hour or so of it happening, but there was still loads of damage – because of her dropped bum, everything dragged. Through dirt, sawdust, chaff and shit. And yes, it was as bad as it sounds. Red raw, with muck and blood, and Holly attempting to turn herself inside out with pushing.

We got her in to the vets the next morning, and Pauline was horrified. Enough so that she made me promise that if I ever had another hen with a prolapse that I wouldn’t wait for an appointment, but bring them straight in. It really was bad. But with a lot of effort, two vet nurses, heaps of water and me holding Holly on her back with her legs up in the air at a 45˚ angle, everything was cleaned, ointmented and reinserted. This time Pauline actually sewed her cloaca up, leaving a small (very small) aperture for poo, but (hopefully) not enough room for her to push through again. Poor girl, it was about as undignified as it gets. But it was done, and I took her home with antibiotics, ointment, and instructions to keep her inside on towels for a week, and bring her back after seven days or so to have the stitches taken out (if I didn’t feel like doing them myself).

Holly, 13 November 2013

Nice plan.

Didn’t work.

Holly was straining and straining the whole time I was driving her home. Not unusual. And usually not a problem, once stitched up. But she is a strong girl, and by the time I got her home, set up the hospital cage and lifted her out again, she had torn the stitches through completely, and prolapsed again. To add to the chaos, she’d also laid a membrane-only egg. So I packed her up again, phoned the vets to warn them, and got back in the car.

Take two.

Holly, 26 January 2012This time, Pauline used a couple of trouser buttons (I don’t want to know where she got them) to spread the pressure of the stitches over a wider area. We also gave her a sort of corset bandage around her bum, with gauze padding and vetwrap to keep gentle upward pressure on her undercarriage – hopefully the general pressure would discourage her from straining. (And yep, it did seem to work!) We discussed what might happen if Holly tried to lay another egg – crossing our fingers that the membrane-only egg was the one up the spout when everything happened, and that the trauma would have stopped any others from coming down. (So to speak.) The decision was that I would cut a few stitches if absolutely necessary, but that I would then need to truss her up thoroughly again, and bring her back in for a checkup at the end of the week.

Holly, 13 Nov 2013

Holly, 13 Nov 2013

Next day, Holly seemed to be trying to lay another egg. I ummed and ahhed and phoned the vets for advice, and checked Holly again. And realised that only one of the buttons remained.

So she went in again. There were no appointments available, so this time we just dropped off, to be left until someone could have a look at her. And when I brought her home that evening, she had the third iteration of her stitches – this time Susan had used mattress stitching, with toggley things to spread the load. We were also assured that there was no egg present,and told to keep doing what we’d been doing, keeping her quiet, and to come back on Saturday (today) for a follow-up, if things behaved themselves.

And things have, finally, behaved themselves. No eggs, no ripping of stitches, no further prolapse. The stitches came out, and her muscle tone appears absolutely normal. She’s still a bit sore, and tending to droop, but that’s understandable.

I’ll be nervous any time I see her near a nestbox for a while. But with luck, she’ll be ok from here.

Just don’t show her any buttons.

Laying summary – July 2014

August 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

Quick report this month, as there really isn’t a lot to say:

Eggs July 2014

A mixture of youth and experience this month. Jeannie took the month with a quite respectable 19 eggs, followed by Remy on 15 and Adelaide on 13. Dabbling in the nestbox (if such big girls can be said to dabble in anything proportionally smaller than a lake) were Holly (3) and Gabby (2).

Still waiting for Adelaide‘s daughters to start laying. Just as well we have the Poppettes!

Jeannie, burrowing in RemyAdelaide, consoling the monkey, 5 July 2013

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