We just can’t seem to get away from egg laying problems with the girls we had from my last breeder. We lost Rusty to a second prolapse last September. We lost Apricot overnight this April just as she was coming back into lay.
Two weeks ago Dandelion prolapsed after laying two soft shelled eggs then one good shelled egg after her prolapse then took a break from laying. Freckles laid four soft shelled eggs then took a break of three weeks then laid a further three soft shelled eggs.
Yesterday both Freckles and Dandelion looked very unhappy. Dandelion had been showing signs of coming back into lay. She had a practice in the nest box the day before but didn’t lay. I dreaded that it was too soon to lay again and that she may prolapse once more.
Freckles had laid a soft shelled egg five days ago. Three days ago I found the remainder of an egg in the chicken shed which I think was her second one. Yesterday I noticed that she had a mucky bottom so I decided to clean her up. While cleaning her I realised that she had a soft shelled egg stuck to her and partly still trapped in her vent which was prolapsing slightly.
I soaked her in a bowl of warm water and with disposable gloves I cleaned her with cotton wool pads. I then gently pulled the egg shell from her pulling the last bit of it from her vent. I cleaned her as best I could and pushed the prolapse back in.
Freckles later put herself to bed early. I picked her up to check her and she was mucky again with a slightly protruding vent once more. I brought her into our bathroom the same as I had with Dandelion. I cleaned her up and then pushed the prolapse in with a gloved finger and with some honey the same as I did with Dandelion. I put her back on her roost spot in the hope that if she didn’t poop overnight it would stay in.
By this morning Freckles and Dandelion were both looking very unhappy. They both refused the morning corn which is not a good sign. I checked Dandelion’s vent and it was red and swollen with a bit of muck underneath. As the day wore on Freckles looked more and more unhappy.
At this point I decided to ring the vet for advice. I am feeling very low about these two girls. I have nurtured them through a rough winter with both of them having mycoplasma and I treated the whole flock four times with tylan in the water over the winter. I felt very close to letting them go and am now wondering if perhaps I should have.
Myco can be treated with tylan but a prolapse is mechanical and prone to recurring. I wonder what quality of life these two have if they can’t lay eggs and are going to suffer every time. Seramas don’t take a winter break either which would give some time to heal. Last year they laid up until the end of December.
I explained the situation to the receptionist at the vets and said that I didn’t want to bring them in but just wanted to have a chat with the vet to seek advice. She said that she would ask the vet that saw Dandelion to call me but didn’t know when that would be.
I checked back on the girls and Dandelion was in the nest box. I held my breath and went to collect my camera. When I got back she was just laying her egg and I was pleased to see that it had a proper shell.
Once again Dandelion has a reprieve. I know we are not out of the woods yet as Rusty laid a good egg after a four week break and then prolapsed on the next one. I am hopeful though as Dandelion’s prolapse wan’t as bad as Rusty’s. I checked Dandelion’s vent and it looks the same as the earlier photo of her. She looks happy again so for now I am breathing a sigh of relief.
It’s not so good for Freckles though as she has remained, looking like her earlier photo, all day. I decided to wait and see if she perked up with time. If not I worry about there being some egg inside her although I felt sure that I had got it all.
And then on to the other problem. I have been worrying for the last few weeks that Blue may be a cockerel. Blue has a red comb and wattles and big feet. I have scrutinised the photos of the the other girls when we first got them from my second history of the flock.
I know that silky feathered girls develop more slowly. I looked back at Rusty who had no comb while Freckles had a comb and it was fairly red although not as red as Blue’s. I looked at the three amigos and Apricot had no comb and Dandelion and especially Cinnamon had combs and Cinnamon’s was red. Cinnamon also has big feet.
I googled how to sex serama chicks and it said that between one and two months the boys have pink combs and the girls have yellow combs. It said that the boys start to crow as early as three to six weeks. We have had the chicks for five weeks and the breeder thought they were about two months when we took them. I have been listening and can only hear cheeping so have been telling myself Blue could still be a girl.
I then e-mailed the link to my blog to the breeder we got them from to have a look at how well the integration is going.
She emailed me back – That frizzle has got to be a boy surely!!!
This struck horror in my heart. If anyone should know she should. I had been reassuring myself that they were still cheeping so I went in to have a listen.
I cornered them which sets them cheeping and hunkered down to watch them. I suddenly realised that all the cheeping was coming from the two silkies. Sienna and Jasmine’s beaks were opening with loud cheeping sounds. Blue’s beak was firmly closed and Blue was absolutely silent.
This has now convinced me Blue is a boy even though not crowing yet. I wonder if they were nearer one month rather then two when we got them putting Blue at two months now rather than three. I am gutted!
This is now a real problem. My neighbours would not be happy with a cockerel and I have always said that I would never have one. But now I have a dilemma. Because I have had myco in my flock I cant’ take Blue back to the breeder. I am sick at heart and don’t know what I can do. Blue is also my favourite coloured chick not that has any bearing on it.
I have no idea what I will do. I am feeling sick at heart at the moment.
Last night Freckles took herself to bed early. I picked her up and she had a mucky bottom again. I decided to bring her into the bathroom and clean her again thinking that if she didn’t poop over night she might stay clean.
At this moment the vet called me. I shut myself in the bathroom and put Freckles on the floor where she promptly pooped. I updated the vet and said that although that morning I had been ready to give up on them I now felt there was still a chance of improvement. Freckles seemed to rally a bit and jumped up on to the toilet seat (closed of course).
He said that as long as I was willing and able to clean them up and put any prolapse back in then I could continue to do that but the moment that I felt that their quality of life was compromised he would be happy to step in and put either one or both girls to sleep.
I felt a little more optimistic and was glad that I had discussed it with the vet. I returned Freckles to her roost spot.
This morning Dandelion looked brighter and joined in with the morning corn but Freckles looked worse and didn’t have any corn.
Freckles remained hunched with her eyes closed. I decided it was time to call the vet again. The same vet had a slot mid morning so I took Freckles to be put to sleep. I couldn’t let her suffer any longer. The vet said that I had done the right thing and had done my best for her.
He said that sometimes the shell making gland can go wrong for unknown reasons and then can’t get better again. Dandelion has a chance as her last two eggs have had good shells but Freckles eggs had all been soft shelled for some time now.
I know it was the right thing to do but I left the vet in tears and sat in my van and cried before I could drive home. I will do a little tribute to her soon but at the moment I am too upset to write any more.