There is a problem going on with Marmite. Last year Marmite had a problem with laying soft shelled eggs.
Marmite would look very hunched and down a day or two before laying her egg. She would then lay a soft shelled egg and bounce back to normal. Throughout this her face and comb remained a good red colour.
Marmite was laying about once a week last year. My biggest worry was that an egg would break inside her but she always managed to get her eggs laid. Once the end of the laying season arrived Marmite remained happy and healthy but I worried about the start of laying again this year.
About a week ago Marmite had the familiar look of being about to lay a soft shelled egg. I realised that she was going to struggle again this year. I had been hoping that the problem may have miraculously righted itself but I knew in my heart that this was unlikely.
As the days went by I was hoping that Marmite would get a soft shelled egg laid but she showed no sign of laying. Over the intervening week I noticed her face and comb getting paler. I know this is a bad sign.
I looked back at the photos of Marmite a week or so ago when I took some with the allotment cabbage and some with her wonky feather and sure enough her face and comb were a lovely red colour. There is something wrong.
Look how pale Marmite’s face and comb looks compared to the other girls and Salmon isn’t laying yet and Speckles is unlikely to lay and is elderly but still has a healthy red comb.
I have picked Marmite up and inspected her and I can’t see anything. She looks like she does in the above photo all the time which is an unhappy pose.
Marmite is eating the sunflower seeds and corn although not as enthusiastically as usual and we have seen her pecking at the apple and drinking water and I have seen her poop. I have also seen her stretching her wings out in the sun and she is preening her feathers.
On the other hand I haven’t seen her dust bathing recently and she spends a lot of her time in the big wooden shelter where she obviously feels safe while feeling out of sorts.
I am in a really difficult position because I know the problem is egg related after last year. This means there is nothing I can do to help her and there is nothing a vet can do to help her other than to put her to sleep.
On the one hand I don’t want to let her suffer but on the other hand I don’t want to give up on her too soon. I keep hoping that she will get an egg laid and bounce back but again in my heart I know that she isn’t going to be fixed.
I know that when a chicken stops eating they have given up and that is usually the point of no return. Marmite hasn’t stopped eating so I feel that she hasn’t given up yet and therefore I can’t give up yet. Yet each day that goes by with her looking so dejected breaks my heart.
I know in my heart of hearts that Marmite is nearing the end of the road. I feel so sad for her and so frustratingly helpless. I feel that we can only give it a little while longer before we have to make the dreaded decision.
I keep clinging on to hope for a better outcome but I know that I have to ready myself . Marmite is only three years old. It is just so sad.