Flame has a set back

We thought Flame was better and stopped giving her the eye drops on Friday. Yesterday when I lifted her for a break from the chicken shed at the end of the day she had her right eye closed again. I was so disappointed.

Flame when I lifted her from the chicken shed Saturday afternoon

I decided I needed to break her from her broodiness so that I could keep a better watch over her. We also decided to continue with her eye drops. I know she can’t stay on them forever but it seems that after missing a day her eye is closing again so there is nothing to lose for now by continuing them.

I decided to start Flame in the broody crate at the end of the day. It usually takes two days and two or three nights to break her. I hadn’t wanted to do this earlier as it seemed mean when she already had a problem. In reality though there is not much difference for her to be sitting in a crate or sitting in the corner of the shed.

I put in a dish of water, a dish of mash and a perch. I watched over Flame once she was in and she had a good feed from the mash first which was good to see.

Flame then went straight to the perch and started preening. This is also good because in the chicken shed she won’t perch. I have tried perching her at the end of the day and she would drop back down again yet in the crate she will perch.

Flame preening and showing her right eye
Preening and showing her left eye which is more round and open

Once Flame had finished preening she settled down on the perch.

Flame’s right eye as she settles on the perch
At rest Flame’s right eye closes

As she was settled I closed up the shed for the night.

I feel certain that the problem is just an eye problem as if it was something respiratory or some other underlying problem it would effect both eyes. Flame has been rubbing at her eye with her claws which of course is not helpful but shows that it is irritating her.

This morning I closed the nest boxes and shed pop hole and put Flame back in the run for a break. Flame wasn’t interested and when she couldn’t get in the shed she sat on top of a nest box.

We gave her the eye drop and I returned her to the crate. I will do the usual of closing the nest boxes and giving Flame a break in the run several times throughout the day.

I will continue until I break Flame of her broody spell and will continue with the eye drops until they run out. I will then have a chat with the vet to see what we should do going forward.

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Flame is better and the girls have a fish treat

I haven’t seen flame close her eye since last Sunday when she went broody. It was an inconvenient time for her to go broody as it’s made it more difficult to watch her.

I have tried when possible to spy on Flame through the pop hole to check her eyes are open as I wondered if she would open them when she hears me opening the chicken shed door.

I get Flame out of the chicken shed for a break several times a day. She has had her eyes open all the time but being broody she does everything at speed. It’s water then food then a speedy dust bath and then a quick preen of her feathers and back in again.

However I am convinced that she is back to normal and we gave her her last eye drops on Friday so that she had had a full week on them.

To celebrate I gave the girls a fish treat this morning which gave me a chance to photograph the whole flock together. I lifted Flame out to join the girls and she happily joined in with the fish treat.

A fish treat for the girls
A great way to get some group photos
The girls love a fish treat
Flame is looking good

From the back and left to right we have Salmon and in front of her we have Storm and Sugar. Next is Dot then Snowflake then Flame. In front we have Spangle and Gold in the foreground.

It was only a few minutes before the fish dishes were empty.

I am happy with how Flame is looking. I am hopeful that at six years old we have swerved a problem for her and given her the chance to go on to reach a good age.

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Flame is broody

At the same time that Sugar came back into lay Flame went broody. We seem to constantly have five out of eight girls laying!

This does make it easy to pick Flame up for her eye drops but then she is easy to pick up anyway.

We are so lucky that Flame is a docile and placid girl. We have had angry broody seramas in the past who would peck me. As Flame is our biggest and heaviest girl it is so good that she isn’t an angry broody and I can pick her up easily without ever worrying about her pecking.

I am lifting her out for a break several times a day plus twice a day for her eye drops. It makes it a little harder to see what is going on with her but every time I have opened the chicken shed door her eyes have been open.

Broody Flame when I lift her from the chicken shed
Flame just sits where I put her until I move her on

Flame has her right eye open so that’s good.

Flame and Storm together in the chicken shed

Storm likes to sit next to Flame when she lays her egg and she also often perches next to Flame at bedtime.

When I next checked Storm was out and Flame was sitting on Storm’s little egg. Despite their difference in size and age these two are often together.

I will keep going with the eye drops until I am absolutely sure that Flame is no longer closing her right eye. I want to be sure she is really over this before I stop and she is so good at letting us handle her. She is a sweet girl.

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Before I update on chicken progress I just have to put out one photo of the next rose.

Another rose

This rose was already here when we moved in fifteen years ago but was hidden behind shrubs. Since we gave it room it has spread and it flowers from now until the first frosts.

Group photo

I thought it would be good to get a group photo while the girls had their greens this morning. They are such a pretty flock.

Flame had seemed completely back to normal since her first eye drops at the vet on Thursday and we were thinking we might stop giving them to her.

Then today for the first time since her vet visit she had her right eye closed this afternoon so we have decided to carry on with them. I have just checked on her again and her eye is open but we will keep going for longer and keep watching her closely.

In other news Sugar laid an egg yesterday for the first time since her latest broody spell and as usual for her it was two weeks after I broke her out of her broodiness.

Spangle only laid five eggs this year before she stopped and had a partial moult. It’s now six weeks since she last laid.

Salmon hasn’t started to lay this year but she looks really amazing with a lovely red face and comb. I am quite happy to have her never lay again as long as she stays healthy.

Dot laid four eggs each one four days apart and then stopped and hasn’t laid for two weeks now. She has been moulting too. I think perhaps because she matured at the end of last year she has started an early moult and may resume laying when she stops dropping feathers.

Flame, Gold, Snowflake and Storm are all laying well. With Sugar back in lay we now have five out of eight girls laying and yesterday had a five egg day.

We have now had enough eggs to give some to our neighbours on either side of us and still plenty for us to have them as often as we want. Well done girls!

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Flame has a visit to the vet

On Wednesday I thought that there was a slight improvement with Flame. On Thursday she seemed worse. She spent most of the first half of the day with her eyes closed and her head under her wing.

Flame was like this most of Thursday morning

I decided that it was time to take Flame to the vet. I got an appointment for three o’clock.

When it was time to put Flame in the cat box she was enjoying a lovely dust bath with her right eye closed. I tried rattling the sunflower seeds and calling her but she was enjoying her dust bath so much that she ignored me.

I had to lift Flame out of her dust bath. She didn’t shake herself so I stood her on the chicken’s patio and tried my best to pat some of the dust off her. It doesn’t work nearly as well as a chicken shake but it couldn’t be helped as it was time to go.

The lovely vet put some drops in Flame’s eye so that she would be able to see if there was any cut or scratch. She couldn’t see anything. She lifted her eye lid and couldn’t see anything there either.

The vet gave me some eye drops for Flame, Isathal, which is an ointment rather than liquid. The drops have a bit of pain killer in them too. The vet applied the first dose to Flame’s eye while I held Flame steady. They need to be applied twice a day morning and evening but I could give Flame a second dose later that evening.

The vet asked me to call on Saturday with a progress report.

As soon as Flame was back in the run she continued her dust bath. After that she was pottering around the run and her eye was open. Flame looked as if she was feeling better already.

Flame’s right eye at the end of the day after her first drops

I couldn’t believe how much better Flame looked after just her first eye drops. Her eye is obviously now feeling more comfortable. I kind of wish I had gone sooner but I am just glad that I went when I did. Hopefully Flame is now on the mend.

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Flame has a problem

For the last few days Flame was spending the days with her eyes closed. She was sitting with her head under her wing which is unusual for her and her eyes closed or she was sitting or even standing with her eyes closed.

It looked as if she just couldn’t keep her eyes open. I thought at first that she was just really feeling her age and then I started to think maybe she was getting to the end of her life.

But she looks great and has a red comb. She laid an egg both yesterday and the day before. She had a dust bath yesterday but even then had her eyes closed.

She also had her eyes closed when she was in the corner of the shed laying her egg.

Flame is also eating, drinking, going to the grit and having the treats.

Then when she was face on to us we realised that she had one eye open and one eye shut. It wasn’t that she couldn’t keep her eyes open it was that she had a problem with one eye. It is her right eye which had been facing us most of the time. She had her right eye closed and the other eye open.

When Flame did open her right eye I couldn’t see anything wrong with it but it was obviously really bothering her.

I googled the problem but just kept finding questions such as is it weeping and is it cloudy and nothing helpful to do for it. When Flame does open her right eye I can’t see anything wrong with it. I can only conclude that she must have scratched it.

Flame with her head under her wing and her eyes closed
Flame in the corner of the shed getting ready to lay her egg with her eye closed
Flame with her right eye closed but her left eye open
Flame’s right eye when open

This has been three days now. I don’t think there is anything we can do to help her. I think we have to wait and see what happens.

I really hope that it will get better on it’s own in time. It is obviously making Flame feel out of sorts as she has had her head under her wing and sometimes she has perched in the chicken shed.

Flame is always the first to go in at the end of the day but is going in earlier than usual. I really hopes this gets better soon. I feel so sorry for her and so helpless.

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The arrival of our Granddaughter

Wildflowers from the allotment

My eldest son and daughter in law have boys of five and two. On Thursday 9th June at 7.07 in the morning their daughter arrived, three weeks early, weighing six pounds and nine ounces. Mother and baby are well and the boys are super excited about their new sister’s arrival.

This is wonderful happy news and we can’t wait to meet her.

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Climbing rose

Every year at this time our climbing rose looks spectacular.

Roses heading up the garden path
Over the cabin roof
Over the arch
Close up

I know I photograph this rose every year but I can’t help it. It is so beautiful.

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Sugar is in broody jail

Sugar has now been broody for two weeks. Because I know that she will easily carry on for a month or more I have decided that it is time to break her out of it.

With five girls laying it is clogging up a nest box having Sugar in one all of the time and I don’t want her to lose condition.

Smoke who was also a serial broody used to allow me to perch her in the chicken shed overnight and I think that may be why she would come out of it after two weeks.

Sugar refuses to perch at night. She will go floppy and just drop from the perch making no attempt to hold on. When in the broody crate she will perch at night possibly because she doesn’t like to sit on the paper lining the tray rather than shavings.

This means she always comes out of it after two nights in the broody crate. Yesterday afternoon I put Sugar in the broody crate with a dish of water and a dish of mash.

Sugar is in broody jail

I got Sugar out before bedtime for exercise and some sunflower hearts. Sugar wasn’t at all interested and went straight to the closed nest boxes and tried to find a way in. I put her back in the crate.

At bedtime Sugar was on the perch when I closed the shed. This morning when I opened up she was still on the perch which is a good sign.

I closed the nest boxes and the chicken shed and returned Sugar to the run. Sugar had food and water and then a long dust bath which good to see. Sugar then hung out with the flock and I wondered if she had come through this super quick.

I knew the only way to tell was to open up the nest boxes. Sugar instantly made a bee line for the nest box and was straight back in. I returned her to the crate.

I will get her out a couple of times today and leave her in there overnight for a second night. I hope that will do the trick. Tomorrow we will see.

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Different ages in the flock

We now have quite an age range in our flock. Flame is six years old and is showing her age. She is laying an average of three eggs a week and looks amazing but she spends a lot of time sitting. She doesn’t rush to the treats but will have them if she is already nearby.

Flame sits like this a lot of the time but has a lovely red face and comb

Spangle and Salmon are four years old and are appearing to feel their age. Our bigger breeds such as Toffee, Emerald and Speckles have reached eight years old which seems to be the average old age for the bigger bantam breeds.

We have never yet had a serama beyond four years old so these two are our eldest yet. I know that Sophie has a serama of six years old but I am wondering if the girls from our breeder are old at four.

I say this because I feel that there is the possibility that we won’t have Spangle and Salmon beyond this summer. I would like to be proved wrong but I am facing up to the possibility.

The reason being that Spangle behaves exactly the same as Flame as if she is an older girl. Spangle spends a lot of time sitting and dozing. She also doesn’t run to the treats but will have them if she is nearby. Spangle hasn’t laid an egg for three weeks and her face and comb are pale.

Salmon looks amazing. She has a lovely red face and comb but she hasn’t started laying this year. Having had problems laying in the past it is easy to think that not laying is a good thing but the fact is that chickens don’t stop laying unless they are elderly or there is something adrift. After the situation with Spot I worry that the same could happen to Salmon.

Salmon is more active than Spangle but she also doesn’t run to the treats and only has them if she is nearby. These are all the things that worry me about Spangle and Salmon and I am prepared that I could lose them at any time and any time they are still with us is a bonus.

Spangle has a pale face and comb

Salmon has a red face and comb

Sugar is two years old and is robust and healthy looking. I think that although she is a serial broody like Smoke was she doesn’t lay nearly as many eggs so has a good chance at a longer life. Sugar lays an average of eight eggs then goes broody. She has now been broody for a week. She has improved though in as much as when I lift her out for a break she now always goes for a dust bath whereas she often used to go straight back in.

I am planning to leave Sugar a couple of weeks and then try to break her from her broody spell as I don’t want her to go on and on as she is prone to doing.

Dot is just over a year old. Dot laid an egg on her first full day with us and then didn’t lay for the next five days. I started to worry and kept thinking that surely we couldn’t be that unlucky to have the same thing happen as with Spot. Yesterday she laid an egg and I felt relieved!

Dot has a red face and comb
Dot is happy to get close to me
Dot is happy dust bathing with the flock
Dust bathing together

Gold, Snowflake and Storm are seven months old. Storm has laid six eggs in a row before taking a day off and laying again. Snowflake is averaging four eggs a week. Gold was averaging five eggs a week but has taken a four day break.

During Gold’s break from laying I have wondered if she was broody. She will spend hours in the nest box but then not lay. She reacts with the angry look of a broody when I check on her but when I lift her out she stays out for the rest of the day. She will then return to the nest box the following day and repeat the process. I think maybe she is just expecting to lay. Snowflake had similar behaviour when she had a short break.

Gold looking like a broody girl

The flock is such a lovely mix of girls and it is so lovely having no aggressive girls in the flock. I am trying to be realistic though and am thinking of Spangle and Salmon as older girls so that it won’t be a shock if we lose them. We will just make the most of them while we have them.

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