A tribute to Jasmine

Sadly we lost our lovely Jasmine yesterday. She was our last silky girl. We had her for only a year and a half. Six months ago she had been diagnosed, by the vet, with a heart murmur so at least we had her for another six months.

Jasmine was a feisty character and was top girl of the little girls and was so friendly and so pretty. She will be very much missed.

Jasmine on the right with Sienna in the middle and Blue on the left, last July

Jasmine and Sienna at bedtime, these two were always together until we lost Sienna

Jasmine and Sienna

Jasmine the ball of fluff, this April

Jasmine dust bathing

Jasmine looking in the nest box

Jasmine in the nest box

Angry Jasmine when broody

Jasmine last week

Jasmine was such a pretty girl and a lovely character. Goodbye sweet Jasmine.

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Jasmine has gone

Jasmine perched on the edge of the cat box for about an hour looking as if she was dozing. She thenĀ  had a bit of a last hurrah. She had a wonder around the bathroom. I put her in front of her dish of treats and she looked like she might eat some.

I then realised she was picking up seeds and dropping them again. I realised that when I thought she was coming to the treats she probably wasn’t actually eating them.

I picked her up and she felt very thin underneath her fluffy feathers. I could feel a crackle in her breast and hear a crackle in her breathing.

I put her back in the cat box and she settled but her breathing her was very very shallow. When I next checked on her she was on her side and I knew that she was gone.

My lovely husband said that he would bury her for me. Sadly the chicken’s strip is filling up. This has been a heartbreaking year for losing girls. This is five this year and now we are down to seven. Jasmine was our last silky girl.

Jasmine has gone

My husband planted an aquilegia seedling on top of Jasmine. I suppose Jasmine was on borrowed time with her heart murmur. She was diagnosed with a heart murmur in May this year so we have had her for another six months. We are not sure if it was her heart or the dreaded myco but she was struggling to breath.

Jasmine was such a feisty little girl and I will miss her terribly. I will do a tribute to her tomorrow when I have looked through my photos. Jasmine was such a lovely little character. We have had her for a year and a half which is much too short a time. Goodbye sweet little Jasmine.

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Jasmine is very poorly

Jasmine has gone down hill over the last few days. She gives me hope when she runs to the treats but the rest of the time she sits hunched with her eyes closing.

Jasmine looks poorly

Her flock mates watch over her

I know that I am soon going to have to make a decision over Jasmine as I can’t let her suffer.

This morning it was frosty and I decided to bring Jasmine in in the warm. I wanted to give her a last chance of a bit of comfort and some treats before taking her to the vets to be put to sleep.

Jasmine inside with a dish of treats

I wondered if it would be less stressful to leave her out of the cat box.

Jasmine in the bathroom

I then decided to give Jasmine the choice in case she would be more comfortable in the cat box. Jasmine chose to perch on the edge of the cat box.

Jasmine has the choice of in or out of the cat box

I will try to get an appointment at the vets. I hate to give up on her but she is struggling with her breathing. Her breaths are shallow and laboured. I think her heart problem couldn’t cope with the moult andĀ  the cold.

Jasmine is giving little squeaks as she breaths and I know it is time for her to go. I am so upset that I am going to leave this here for now and will return later with an update.

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Dust bathing and loose feathers

Yesterday afternoon Salmon and Spangle were sharing a dust bath. The girls don’t dust bath as much at this time of year but it is a great way to shake off those loose feathers. I don’t always catch them dust bathing but find dust holes with little piles of feathers in them.

Salmon and Spangle share a dust bath

Spangle is surrounded by feathers

Spangle had two remaining tail feathers in her last photograph and now has one remaining tail feather. Salmon has some loose tail feathers.

Spangle has just one tail feather hanging on

Salmon has some loose tail feathers

The photo doesn’t show it clearly but some of Salmon’s tail feathers are sticking out to the side. The new tail feathers are already underneath so both girls will soon be back to normal.

Jasmine, meanwhile, had a very loose wing feather.

Jasmine has a very loose wing feather

As Jasmine passed me I touched the feather and it came out. It wasn’t attached but just being held by the other feathers. I look forward to the girls getting through the moult and back to normal.

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We think we have a mole in the garden

It’s a good job we don’t have a lovely lawn because we think we have a mole. We noticed two heaps of soil that must have come from deep down because it was quite different from the top soil. It was gritty and sandy looking whereas the top soil is dark.

Evidence of a mole

This heap is between the sage and the anemone.

And another heap

This one has spilled over the bricks onto the veg plot.

There are only the two so far. Our garden is very full and therefore full of roots so we are hoping that it will soon move on to an easier spot. This is the first time we have ever seen this in our garden.

With luck it may have already moved on as there are no new heaps.

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I have got a bit behind with blogging lately due to being busy with e-bay selling and all the problems that that brings with it.

Today is day nine of the tylan and I am disappointed to say that Salmon is still wheezing. I mentioned continuing with tylan in the comments but I will repeat here for anyone that missed it. During an e-mail conversation with Sophie she said that her vet recommended continuing for two to three weeks if it was taking longer to have effect.

I replied that when my husband delivered a lunch to an exotic bird expert who was giving a talk, a few years ago, he said the same thing. He kept parrots and his wife kept chickens and had also had myco in her flock. He said it was sometimes needed to carry on for up to three weeks. Having had that advice from two sources I am going to follow it.

I have a big bottle of tylan and it has a “use by” date for July so I can feel free to use it whenever I need to. So for the moment I will keep going with it.

In other news Jasmine is looking very miserable while moulting and I worry about her but hope she will pick up when she gets through the moult. Spangle is the one that sneezes the most but she also makes the squeaky, hiccup, sound that Sienna used to make so I wonder if she too has a heart murmur. If so there is nothing to be done about that. Spangle seems well enough in herself so I hope that like Jasmine she can manage it for now. Spangle is also moulting quite heavily.

The other news is that Smoke laid her first egg today since her heavy spell of moulting. Ebony is still laying every other day. Marmite is also laying every other day and now Smoke has started again so that is more eggs than I expected as late in the year as this.

I know I have done this many times but I thought I would show an egg comparison again. Sophie is always amazed that I can tell my girls eggs apart but they are so different.


Ebony’s large, beige, egg is on the right. Marmite’s egg in the middle is a similar beige colour and an oval shape. Smoke’s egg on the left is round and white.

Today I took a portrait of each of the girls.









Ebony, Marmite and Smoke have the white carotene on their heads which seems to last for ages. Both Ebony and Marmite also have white tips to some feathers since moulting.

I will be really glad when they all come through the moult. It would be good to get it over with before the colder weather comes.

I am quite worried about getting these little girls through the winter but I will have to cross each bridge as I come to it and hope for the best.

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Speckles is leader of the little girls

Speckles is very often surrounded by the little girls while Flame and Ebony are elsewhere. Sometimes she will be either be stood or sat in the run with the little girls all around her or sometimes she will be on top of one of the shelters with little girls.

Speckles is very much the head of the little girls whereas Ebony and Flame tend to perch together on the branch perch. Sometimes Speckles will join Ebony and Flame on the branch perch too. Speckles is definitely head girl despite her age making her look a bit fragile.

Speckles and her flock of little girls

A gathering on the small shelter

Meanwhile Flame and Ebony are on the branch perch

Flame has very few tail feathers left. This is the favourite perch of the bigger girls.

Jasmine is not looking happy

Jasmine looks like she did after she had her two funny turns, before we found out, she has a heart murmur. The vet said to try not to let her get stressed! Despite the heart murmur Jasmine is top serama and takes no nonsense from the other little girls. I think she is top because she came into the flock before the remaining little girls.

But Jasmine is now moulting. I have seen her fluffy, silky feathers, drifting around her. I think that is what is stressing her at the moment. I just hope that she will bounce back from this. The moult can be so hard on these girls. I think it was the moult that triggered Salmon into the wheezing.

I am disappointed that we are now on day three of the tylan and Salmon is still wheezing. I really hope she can shake this off soon.

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I have tylan

The vet said that my tylan would be in on Monday but Monday is their half day and they don’t open until two o’clock. By the time I was able to collect it, it was four o’clock. As the girls are now going in between half past five and six o’clock I decided to start using it this morning.

I put one level teaspoon of tylan powder in a bowl and pour over one litre of water and wait for it to dissolve. I change the chickens water dish to a smaller one so that I don’t use too much and waste it. I use some of the water to mix four small dishes of mash. Because the girls don’t drink as much in the winter I feel that the mash helps them to take more of the tylan.

Any water left after twenty four hours must be thrown away and a fresh batch made. They need to be treated for five days.

In these photos I gave the girls the mash before changing the water. The large water dish on the left of the photo has now been changed to a smaller one and the drinker on the right of the photo has just enough water to cover the tray at the bottom.

The flock have mash made with tylan water

All the girls have a share of the mash

By this afternoon I thought that Salmon was wheezing less. I also noticed that Spangle was wheezing slightly too. Spangle has always sneezed the most.

Long term I will still have to let my flock die out unless I went through several years without this recurring but at least I don’t need to sacrifice girls like Salmon who are well in themselves. The new vet said that it is all about quality of life. If I have a really poorly girl I would have her put to sleep but I don’t want to do that to a girl that looks as lively and fit as Salmon.

I have lost a third of my flock this year and my flock of eight feels quite small but they all look healthy and I am hoping that I can keep these girls for as long as possible. I am feeling much happier about the situation now that I can treat them over winter if I need too.

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A lovely vet

I took Salmon to the new vet at half past five this evening. Salmon was so stressed once I had put her in the cat box that I started to worry I might lose her. She was panting with her beak open and wheezing more than ever.

The vet was really lovely. It had already been put on my notes that I had mycoplasma in my flock and that I needed tylan. She took Salmon out of the cat box and weighed her and said that that was all she was going to do as she didn’t want to stress her more. She said her weight was right for her size and she could see a couple of poops in the cat box so that was fine. She could hear her wheezing and she could see that I was used to this and on to it.

She said that wheezing and sneezing can only be myco and the only thing that treats it properly is tylan. She said they no longer recommend baytril as it only suppresses symptoms and doesn’t get rid of it.

I said that I thought moulting along with colder weather was the stress to bring this out again and she said that moulting knocks their immune system and because they are so tiny they are more vulnerable.

She said that as I have a closed flock the right thing to do is to treat and make sure my girls have quality of life. I said that if they were suffering I would have them put to sleep but that tylan usually got them well again.

I said that I had been treating every winter and had just discovered how close to me this practice was. I had taken in my empty tylan bottle and she said she would order the same and whenever I needed more they would supply me with it. She said that it will be in by Monday and to keep using the baytril that I have until then.

She said that this could come into a flock at any time through the wild birds and then you are stuck with it and you just have to be vigilant and to treat it. I could have hugged her. What a difference!

As soon as I got Salmon home I gave her a dose of baytril and returned her to the run and straight away she bounced back and was herself again. I am feeling so relieved and so happy with this vet. If only I had done this sooner but hind sight is a wonderful thing.

Maybe now my flock can get back to being a well and happy flock and that makes me happy.

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Salmon and a change of heart

Salmon finished her second, seven day, course of baytril yesterday and she is still wheezing. I really don’t believe that baytril is as good as tylan. In fact looking back we have never got a girl well with baytril.

Caramel and Pebbles were both on baytril and I lost them both. Cinnamon had baytril and it appeared to have worked but obviously didn’t as she soon relapsed and the baytril didn’t help at all the second time.

Now Salmon has had two courses and again the first seemed to work but obviously didn’t because she started wheezing again two weeks later. Again a second course has made no difference.

I had said that I would treat twice and then let them go but Salmon looks so well. It is one thing taking a poorly girl to the vets but quite another taking a girl that looks well. Salmon is lively, eats well and does all the usual chicken things. She looks good and has a red comb. She looks like a healthy chicken but she is wheezing and I know that means she is not free of myco.

Salmon has a red face and comb

She looks great

So beautiful

So friendly

How can I give up on her! Salmon is beautiful and friendly and has never gone broody. She is a lovely girl and she looks great but she is wheezing and sneezing.

The other girls are sneezing too. My husband said why don’t we just leave her and see what happens. I said she will pass it to the rest and he said the rest already have it. I said she may deteriorate without further treatment. We seem to have reached a stalemate.

Sophie and I have been e-mailing and this morning she called me. We had a long heart to heart. She pointed out that if I let them go one by one I will still go through this heartbreak every time. She also pointed out that even if I let the flock die out there is no guarantee that this won’t come back with new girls.

Sophie sent me a link to a forum about myco and it seems that it is much more common than you might expect. Back yard flock keepers said their vets advice was not to cull but to treat. This has made me have a re think about this.

I can’t let Salmon go without trying to save her. I have decided that I am going to try another vet. There is another vet practice quite near us. I am going to see if I can register there and take Salmon to see them.

I feel bad about saying one thing here and then changing my mind but this has all been so difficult. I have been going round and round with this and it had got to the point where I didn’t know what to do about salmon. With Cinnamon there was nothing more I could do and losing Cinnamon has been heartbreaking but with Salmon there is still a possible chance, with the right help, of getting her better.

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