I have touched on this in the comments but I thought I would do a proper post for anyone missing the comments.
Dandelion is always the girl to suffer in cold weather. I think her frizzle feathers are not so insulating as the silky and straight feathers. To add to this she is moulting and has had pins only on her head for months. She of all the girls could do without not having head feathers in winter.
Recently I could tell that Dandelion wasn’t as happy as usual and at bedtime I could hear a slight wheeze from her. I started another five days of tylan in the water. I stuck my head in the shed each evening to have an, up close, listen to her and for three evenings I could hear her wheeze.
Last night I could no longer hear Dandelion wheezing so I think she has come through again. Tomorrow will be the last day of tylan for this time round. I think it was the couple of frosty days that we had that kicked this off again.
It seems that every time we have frost Dandelion is set back but she continues to come through so I stay vigilant and treat at every set back.
Dandelion is better than last year when she used to get bubbles in her eyes. This hasn’t happened this year which I think is because it’s been a milder winter so far and maybe if she had head feathers she might not have had the wheezing.
Since the myco came into our flock I have always known that Dandelion was the most vulnerable girl. Last winter my husband delivered a lunch for a talk given by an exotic bird specialist who kept parrots and his wife had chickens. My husband told him of our experiences and he said that the eye bubbles meant that Dandelion was the carrier.
I have done loads of research on mycoplasma and have not come across anything saying this but it did make me wonder if that was the case. I did wonder if we didn’t have Dandelion in our flock would we remain free of myco in the future.
The situation is though, that we do have Dandelion in our flock and I love that quirky little girl. Dandelion is like the cat with nine lives, she keeps bouncing back. The more times she keeps bouncing back the more attached to her I become.
Dandelion survived her first year of laying soft shelled eggs and looking unwell before each one and went on to lay good shelled eggs the next year. Dandelion survived repeated bouts of myco flare ups with sneezing, wheezing and eye bubbles last winter.
Dandelion came back from a prolapse in the summer when other girls hadn’t survived it and she continued to lay eggs afterwards. Dandelion is a survivor and how can you not love a survivor like her!
Dandelion along with Cinnamon and Speckles is also a top girl. No girl pushes Dandelion around. Speckles will peck all the other seramas if they get in her way but never these two. Speckles considers these two her girls and looks out for them. She will still call them to the treats while keeping the other seramas away from treats.
Ebony is second in command behind Speckles and is a bit of a thug. She will peck and chase at Flame and all the seramas except Dandelion and Cinnamon. Being part of the flock the longest really counts as part of the pecking order and I would put Speckles, Dandelion and Cinnamon in joint top place.
This means that there isn’t an extra worry of Dandelion being bothered by other girls. Dandelion is firmly placed at the head of the flock and is first to the treats and bothered by no other girl.
So in conclusion I would say that even if Dandelion is a carrier, which we can’t know for sure, there is nothing to be done but to treat each time myco rears it’s ugly head again. I will always stay vigilant. I will always make sure I have a stock of tylan. I will always treat as soon as I see any symptom.
It will recur at times of stress and I think that frost is the stress trigger for Dandelion. Since I have known about myco and have treated with tylan each time I haven’t lost a girl to it. I think Dandelion will always be the most vulnerable to this but I think that by continuing as I am doing we should be able to safely come through this each time.
I am much more positive about this, this year, than I was last year. I hope we have Dandelion for a long time to come.