A few days ago we noticed that Marmite was looking poorly. She spent all day in one spot. Her stance was, the humped tail look, that seramas have when all is not well and her eyes were closing.
I didn’t think it was myco but looked more like an egg related problem. I couldn’t understand why she would have an egg problem though as she had been laying with no problems up until now.
The first day she looked like this she did join in with the bedtime corn but the next morning she didn’t join in with the morning sunflower hearts which wasn’t a good sign.
Marmite then went into the nest box and I thought that if it was an egg problem it would be a good thing if she laid and then bounced back. A while later she was back out of the nest box but there was no egg. However there was a little pile of black feathers.
I wondered if she was going broody as sometimes they pull out some breast feathers ready to warm an egg. It seemed at odds though to be poorly when about to go broody as that’s not usual and also she hadn’t returned to the nest box. I was puzzled.
The following morning when I cleaned the chicken shed there was a little heap of black feathers under Marmite’s roost spot. The penny dropped and I realised that she was moulting. Seramas moult, a little at a time, all year round rather than at the end of summer like the bigger girls. Moulting can often make a girl look a bit off colour.
Today Marmite got her egg laid and that too was surrounded by little black feathers. Marmite had bounced back to normal. Crisis over!
At the same time that Marmite was beginning to look better Salmon looked a little off colour. She had the same humped pose and also her eyes were closing.
Salmon didn’t look as poorly as Marmite did but wasn’t her usual self and I always worry about her more because of her wheeze. I always think that Salmon is our most vulnerable girl.
Whereas Marmite looked off colour for two days Salmon only looked off colour for one day and then bounced back. I had noticed the odd loose feather sticking out from Salmon so I think she is moulting a little too.
I am now feeling happier that this was just a slight moult making these two feel a little out of sorts. The good thing is that they all have lovely red combs so that helps to reassure me that they are okay.
Meanwhile in other news Smoke has gone broody again. Smoke had laid thirteen eggs in seventeen days before going broody.
This is the favourite nest box and broody Smoke accepts any other girl laying their egg next to her. Once Flame had laid Smoke rolled the egg underneath herself until I came along and removed it.
You can tell Smoke is broody by her tail feathers coming forward when I open the nest box lid. She also has the usual angry glint in her eye.
It’s a shame that our best layer will be back out of action again for a while but I am just glad that the poorly looking girls have bounced back with no illness after all. I really don’t want any poorly girls in the current difficult times and am just crossing my fingers that they all stay healthy.