Salmon’s gone

It was on Monday, three days ago, that there was a lot of blood on Salmon’s perch and the shavings below. Apart from a mucky bottom which I cleaned for her she seemed the same as normal. She was still running to the treats and active.

Today Salmon went down hill very fast. In fact I had just replied to a blog comment saying she seemed fine when I had to add that the next time I checked on her she looked miserable. She no longer came to the treats and I wasn’t sure if she was eating at all. I made dishes of mash and she drank a bit of water off the top. She did the thing chickens do when not well and pecked at the mash without actually eating it.

The next time I checked on her Salmon had her head under her wing. I have never seen her do that before and I knew at this point that something was very wrong.

Salmon with her head under her wing

I took Salmon some chopped tomato which is her favourite thing and she refused to have any. I realised that the blood was probably from trying to push out a soft shelled egg and that although she seemed fine at the time three days later it would have started to poison her. Her comb had gone from pink to very pale, almost yellow.

After two years of not laying it was such a shame she had produced another egg. I knew that there was no way back from this and I couldn’t let her suffer. I rang the vet and got an appointment for three o’clock.

The paper in the cat box had a few spots of blood coming through her vent. The vet agreed with me that she must have a broken egg inside her. She said it was the kindest thing to have her put to sleep. The vets now give a bit of gas to gently send them to sleep before giving the injection as it’s less stressful. I wanted to stay and see her when she had gone. The vet said it was very gentle and peaceful.

Salmon would have been six years old this summer which is the oldest serama we have ever had. By successfully pulling her last, soft shelled egg, from her I had given her two more years. She has had a good life. I am still so sad to see her go and have shed a few tears for her.

I will do a tribute for her over the next few days. I knew Salmon was on borrowed time and that if she produced another egg it would be her down fall but it still doesn’t make it any easier losing her.

Posted in Chickens | 4 Comments

Up dates on the girls

I think some of the girls are getting ready to start laying. Oddly Autumn has stopped laying. She laid her last egg on the first of February and hasn’t laid since. She goes in the chicken shed and sits as if she thinks she should still be laying but comes out later with no egg.

Both Storm and Gold have been very vocal recently. Gold also squats when I come up behind her. They have both been investigating the nest boxes. It’s going to be a race to see which one of them lays first.

Storm going in the nest box
Storm in the nest box
Gold going in the nest box
Gold in the nest box
Gold checking on Storm in the nest box

I think these two girls will start laying soon. They are later this year than last year but I think it’s probably because this spring has been mostly dark and wet. Last year Gold started laying in the last week in January. Storm started laying in the first week in February and Dot started laying in the second week of February.

This morning when I went in to poop pick the chicken shed I was alarmed to see quite a big patch of blood on the back perch and splashes of blood in the shavings underneath the perch. I picked each girl up in turn and checked them. I couldn’t see any blood. I checked bottoms, combs and feet. All the girls looked okay apart from Salmon having a bit of a mucky bottom.

I tried to remember which girl was perched on the back, right hand, corner. It is usually Sugar and Salmon that perch there. I picked Sugar up again and had a closer look. There was nothing to see. I then picked up Salmon for a closer look. I saw a spot of blood on one of her tail feathers so I knew it must be from her. I had a closer look at her mucky bottom. I tried to wipe off the poop with kitchen paper but found a small ball of poop attached to her feathers that had set hard.

I got a bowl of warm water and a wet and dry cloth. I picked her up and soaked the ball of poop until I had softened it enough to free it. I dried her and set her back down.

There was a speck of blood on Salmon’s vent. I wonder if she had had to push hard to poop past the lump and that had caused her to bleed. She looks fine but I will be keeping a close eye on her.

Salmon after her clean up
Salmon looks okay

Salmon is the eldest serama we have had so I know she is the most vulnerable. She hasn’t laid for the last two years so I hope that she won’t ever lay again. I hope this was just a blip but I will be checking her regularly.

Sugar is the other most vulnerable girl as she had problems laying last year. She started laying half way through March. It would be good if she also stopped laying but I don’t suppose that is going to happen.

Sugar has been absolutely fine all winter while not laying. We will just have to wait and see how she gets on when she starts laying this year and hope for the best.

Edit

I went back out to the girls a couple of hours after I had written this post. I checked the nest boxes again and found that Storm had laid.

Storm’s first egg of the year
A lovely little egg

Well done Storm!

Posted in Chickens | 7 Comments

A treat of chopped tomato for the girls

We had a few soft tomatoes so I decided to chop them up and give the girls a treat.

A dish of chopped tomato
I emptied the dish so that they could all get some
I only took three photos as Dot walked away

The tomato didn’t last long. It’s one of the girls’ favourite treats. I love to see them all together around a treat.

Posted in Chickens | 4 Comments

Portraits

I have got very behind with blogging lately. I thought I was overdue a post and thought it would be good to do an up to date portrait of each girl. I did them in order of who has been with us the longest.

Salmon
Sugar
Dot
Gold
Storm
Mango
Cloud
Autumn

All the girls are looking beautiful. Their faces and combs are beginning to get red. Autumn’s is the most red as she is the only girl laying at the moment but some girls started laying last February so it could be soon that we have more girls laying.

Posted in Chickens | 4 Comments

A spot in the sun

It’s been a while since my last blog post. It’s just been so cold that I try to get my chicken chores done as quickly as possible and get back indoors plus not much happens in the chicken run at this time of year.

With the short days Autumn has decreased her egg laying from every other day to every three or four days and then every fifth day from the beginning of January. She sometimes goes in the chicken shed and sits for a while in between but comes out without laying. It is as if she thinks she should still be laying more often.

I have been emptying the chicken’s water at the end of the day and refilling it in the morning because it is easier than dealing with frozen water.

Sugar spends a lot of time on the shelf in the wooden shelter when it’s either wet or cold. Sugar is also always the first one to find a spot in the sun. The morning sun is, if there is any, is on the branch perch above the ladder. Sugar is always first to that spot and then is gradually joined by the other girls. Autumn often gets the spot next to Sugar.

Sugar is always first to find a spot in the sun
Sugar has the best spot in the sun

There is blue sky and sunshine but frosty foliage beyond the chicken run and freezing temperatures over night and only just above freezing during the day. The photo is deceiving as it looks nice but it is just above freezing.

I think the girls as well as us can’t wait for warmer weather. Roll on spring!

Posted in Chickens | 4 Comments

End of year egg record

This year I have had to wait right up to the end of the year to do this post as Autumn has continued laying from the beginning of October right through December. I am putting this post out this morning as Autumn laid yesterday so I know she won’t lay today.

Salmon – 6 years old – laid none last year and none again this year.

Sugar – 4 years old – laid 36 – in 8 months, March to October.

Dot – 3 years old – laid 118 – in 9 months, February to October.

Gold – 2 years old – laid 93 – in 8 months, January to August.

Storm – 2 years old – laid 69 – in 7 months, February to August.

Cloud – 1 year old – laid 39 – in 4 months, June to September.

Mango – 1 year old – laid 32 in 5 months, June to October.

Autumn – 9 months old – laid 37 in 3 months, October to December.

The variance in some of the girls is due to broody periods causing breaks in laying.

The total eggs for the year is – 424.

Surprisingly enough this is very similar to last year (442) despite this being a slightly different flock to last year but despite losses and additions the flock has remained at 8 girls but with 7 laying as Salmon hasn’t laid for 2 years.

As I always say every egg is a bonus so thank you girls for your lovely eggs. The most important thing to me is that girls stay happy and healthy.

And I wish a Happy New Year to all my readers and your families.

Posted in Chickens | 6 Comments

Happy Christmas

As is tradition in this household the girls have a Christmas Day treat of fish.

A Christmas Day treat for the girls
The girls have a fish treat
The fish won’t last long
A Christmas Day group photo

And as an extra bonus Autumn laid a Christmas Day egg this morning. Thank you Autumn!

I would like to wish all my readers a very Happy Christmas and New Year.

Posted in Chickens | 6 Comments

The whole flock dust bathing together

We have had awful weather lately with lots of rain most days and it’s a while since I have seen more than one girl at a time have a dust bath. It’s Autumn that has been dust bathing the most. She likes the small space between the wooden blocks and the chicken’s patio.

Then one day last week we had a sunny afternoon. All eight girls were dust bathing at the same time and for quite a long time too. I took some photos to do this post but then got busy and didn’t get round to it so I thought I would do it now.

All eight girls dust bathing at the same time

It was difficult to get a good photo of all eight of them together as three of them were on the other side of the wire so this was the best I could do.

Six girls are dust bathing here with Salmon on the other side of the wire
And the other two girls here together as always
Salmon is on the same side of the wire as Mango and Cloud
The girls from the other direction

Dust bathing is often a communal thing but usually one or two girls are wandering around “helping”. They will peck at the dust on the girls and scratch around them. This is often Salmon and Storm and then they will dust bath as the first girls start to leave.

So seeing all eight girls at the same time was heart warming. They must have spent nearly an hour dust bathing and they looked so happy.

Since Autumn had her short break in egg laying she has laid another four eggs. I now think she will continue to lay but perhaps not quite as regular as before. It’s enough to give us one or two breakfasts a week. Any eggs are a welcome bonus!

Posted in Chickens | 6 Comments

Egg laying coming to an end for this year

Autumn laid fourteen eggs in October and fourteen eggs in November. I thought that she may lay through the winter but then she stopped laying. Autumn would sit in her corner of the chicken shed for a while and then come out without laying. It was as if she thought she should be laying.

I thought Autumn was finished and then today she laid an egg after a week’s break. It may be her last egg this year though as Mango did the same at the end of her laying. Mango also laid an egg after a week’s break and then no more so it may be the same for Autumn. Time will tell.

Also today for the first time Mango jumped on my back when I was cleaning the chicken run. she always follows me around and has often looked like she wanted to jump on me but couldn’t quite manage it. Today I was bending over close to the chicken’s patio and she jumped on me from there.

The girls stay close to the patio area at this time of year

There isn’t much to report at this time of year. The girls have short days and are not so active in the winter. I am sure that like us they will be happier when the days get longer and warmer again.

Edit

Autumn laid another egg two days after her last one. Perhaps she was just taking a break and will continue to lay over winter after all. Well done Autumn!

Posted in Chickens | 5 Comments

Another fish treat to give the girls a protein boost

I decided to give the girls another fish treat as Dot is going through a really tough moult this year. Sugar’s tail feathers are now at almost the usual length which actually looks quite cute. All the other girls are through the moult.

Dot’s moult seems to be going on forever this year. The dropping feathers have slowed but I am still picking up quite a few from the chicken shed every morning. Dot looks a bit scruffy and her comb has now gone very pale. She looks very sorry for herself. I thought she could do with a bit of a boost.

A fish treat for the girls again
A chance for another group photo
Sugar’s tail is almost back to full length
Dot’s comb is now very pale

I will be so glad when Dot is properly through her moult. She does have her tail feathers back in but is still full of pins especially on her head.

Autumn continues to lay every other day like clockwork and occasionally two days running. She always lays in the same corner of the chicken shed and is very quick at getting her egg laid. Autumn, unlike most of the girls, doesn’t give the egg shout after she has laid. She just casually strolls out of the chicken shed. I don’t know if she will always stay as quiet as this.

Autumn is a very quiet girl. We have only heard her join in with the girls shouting occasionally when there is a cat in the garden and even then it’s only been a few times and sounds a bit of a strangled shout. She chats to me all the time when I am in the run but she has a very quiet and subtle chatty voice. It is one of her many charms that she is a quiet girl.

Posted in Chickens | 6 Comments