The day we lost Apricot, Dandelion started to look really poorly. She didn’t even come for the bedtime corn which I knew was a bad sign. She went into the chicken shed to her usual spot but without Apricot this meant she was on her own.
I didn’t like to think of her on her own so I lifted her across to the perch on the left next to Cinnamon and Freckles.
My first thought was that she ready to lay again and struggling with a soft shelled egg as I have seen this with her last year. Her face is so red that I thought this was probably what the problem was and that once she had laid she would bounce back again.
However the next morning she showed no interest in the morning sunflower hearts. She didn’t appear to be eating or drinking. I decided to bring her in, in the cat box and try to tempt her with some mash, sunflower hearts and chopped grape.
Dandelion has always disliked competition and has always been last to the treats so I thought if I separated her I could tempt her to eat.
Dandelion attempted to eat some grape. She dropped a few bits but managed to eat one bit. She then stood in the food dish as she attempted to find a way out of the cat box. She obviously didn’t want to be in there.
I decided to let her have free range of the bathroom. I lifted the rug and everything from the floor and put her dishes in front of her. She started to eat from the dish.
At this point I could hear a faint whisper of a wheeze in her breathing as she ate and detected a slight sweet smell from her. Suddenly I thought that maybe this wasn’t an egg problem but the dreaded mycoplasma again.
Stress can make it resurface and I think perhaps perching next to Apricot and seeing her fall from the perch and die would have given her a shock.
I decided to start back on the tylan in the water and in dishes of mash. If I am wrong there will be no harm done but if I am right it may save Dandelion and protect the rest of the girls.
I found that if I dropped bits of mash, seeds and grape in front of Dandelion she would eat them. This seemed to give her her strength back. I knew there was a chance she wouldn’t drink the water any time soon so I decided to give her start on it by using a syringe to drip some of the tylan water into her beak.
Once she had had food and water she seemed to perk up and I thought she would probably be happier back with the flock.
I put her back in the run and she looked brighter than she had done and her flock mates immediately surrounded her.
I decided to give her some more tylan water in the afternoon and hopefully that would be enough to start her eating and drinking again.
After losing Apricot I can’t bear to think of losing another girl so soon. Having got Dandelion through the awful winter I can’t give up on her now.
Later in the afternoon we checked on her again and she was in the nest box. Maybe I was right first time after all.
It was good to see Cinnamon in the nest box as she hasn’t laid for a week and I was beginning to wonder why she had stopped. Freckles continues to lay every other day.
Cinnamon soon laid her egg and Dandelion sat in the nest box for a very long time. Eventually she came out shouting and I checked to find that there was no egg. She has done this in the past and may lay her egg tomorrow. She may even lay it in the run as this is what was happening last year.
What an up and down day! I will continue to treat with tylan for five days just to be on the safe side and at the very least it protects the girls.
By the end of the day Dandelion looked poorly again. She went to her usual roost spot and once again I moved her next to Cinnamon and Freckles. I had to put the two bigger girls in.
In the morning I will bring Dandelion into the bathroom again to make sure she gets some food including chopped grape to give her a boost. I hope this will keep her strength up so that she can get her egg laid. We will have to see what tomorrow brings.