Flame has lost her tail

Moulting is now in full swing in the chicken run with Flame dropping the most feathers. As always she has suddenly lost most of her tail feathers.

It has now been three days since the flock stopped having tylan in their water and Flame is looking good in herself. Her eye has remained open and clear and she looks more alert. She is standing up a lot more rather than sitting in the run.

Flame has lost most of her tail feathers
Flame with not much tail but looking good in herself
Flame looking a bit tatty

I don’t want to jinx it but I think we have come through the crisis.

Gold has come out of her broody spell after only a week but Sugar is still going strong. I am going to put her in the broody crate tonight and try to break her out of it.

I don’t want Sugar sat in a nest box all day during our current hot weather. There is no point in letting her do this any longer and the sooner she is back to normal the better.

At the moment the two laying girls have laid so I have closed the nest boxes and blocked the pop hole. At the end of the day I will put her in the broody crate in the shed with mash, water and a perch as usual. I know she will then perch overnight and two or three nights is enough to break her out of it.

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A yogurt treat for the girls

Yesterday was the last day of tylan for the flock. Today I thought I would give them a treat of probiotic yogurt to help restore some of the good bacteria.

I have also put some vitamins in the water. I want to do everything I can to keep them in good health. The vitamins were recommended by Pipenchick, who I got the three newer girls from. They are poultry multi vitamins with B12 vitamin. It is recommended to add them to the water once a week or all the time in times of any sort of stress.

A yogurt treat for the girls
Yogurt beaks
They love a yogurt treat

Flame looks completely back to normal. She is sitting much less and is looking more alert. She is also dropping feathers all over the run and yet so far still looks pristine.

It’s been exactly a week since both Gold and Sugar went broody but Gold is coming out of it already. Yesterday she was out in the run for about half the day. Today I lifted her out of the nest box first thing this morning and so far she has remained out in the run. This is great news if she is only going to stay broody for a short period of time.

I will give it a few more days and then start to break Sugar as I know that left to her own devises she will just go on and on. One of the differences between them is that at the end of the day when I close the nest boxes so that they go in the chicken shed Gold perches but Sugar doesn’t.

I think perching helps but Sugar has always refused to perch when she is broody. No matter how many times I perch her she will just drop back down again so I now don’t bother. Gold perches on her own with no help from me which is great.

We are continuing to get eggs from just two girls, Snowflake and Storm. These two girls are laying well.

I am hoping that there will be no more drama for a while. It is good to see the girls looking happy and well.

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Here we go again

Flame seemed to be back to normal for three days and we thought the crisis had passed.

It was very upsetting to see the next day that Flame had her eye closed again and was back to sitting with her head under her wing.

Flame with her head under her wing again
Flame’s right eye is closed again

We decided to give Flame the eye drops again until I could talk to the vet. On picking her up to give her the eye drops we saw for the first time that she had bubbles in her right eye.

I knew exactly what that meant. Anybody who knows my history will know that I have had years of battling with the dreaded mycoplasma. It came into my flock with the first two seramas I had, from a breeder that stopped breeding that year, I might add.

It hasn’t shown itself for a few years now and I thought we were passed this. I still have some tylan in stock that is still in date until next March so I decided that I would start treating the whole flock straight away. There is no point in giving any more eye drops.

I dissolve one teaspoon of tylan in one litre of water and put it in the chicken drinker. A new batch needs to be mixed each day and it needs to be given for five days.

Tylan has always been the only thing that has ever worked for me and as well as treating Flame it will protect the rest of the flock.

By the following day Flame was already looking back to normal with her eye open and clear. Over the next few days she has looked perkier and seems her normal self once more.

Flame today showing her right eye

Thank goodness I still had some tylan in stock although there is not much left now.

Myco never goes away once it’s in the flock but can be controlled with tylan. We haven’t had a problem for a few years but it can recur at times of stress.

I worm the flock twice a year in March and September. I wormed the flock in March once the three newer girls were integrated and found no worms. However I bought Dot into the flock in May and it hadn’t occurred to me until now that she hadn’t been wormed.

I found worms in the poop recently and wormed the flock again. Seven consecutive days of flubenvet in dishes of mash is the way that I always worm the flock. Once they were a few days in on the flubenvet I found worms in Flame’s poop.

I think that Flame having worms may have been the stress factor that sparked the myco. I am really hoping that the treatment will get Flame back to normal and will keep the rest of the flock free of it.

I had hoped never to see this again but it proves that it never entirely goes away and I need to always remain vigilant.

I was thrown by the fact that Flame is an older girl and when she was sitting dozing more often I put it down to feeling her age rather than a possibility of worms, especially as I had wormed the flock in March.

With only one eye closing and remaining clear when open this caused me to discount myco. I am only relieved that I spotted both issues in time to act on them.

I am hopeful that the flock will be okay and we will come through this again. It is always something that I dread.

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We have two broodies

There have been several times when I thought that Gold was going broody and it was a false alarm. This time though she is definitely broody.

I felt it was coming as over the past week Gold has gradually spent longer and longer in the nest box and liked to sit on her egg for a while before leaving the nest box.

Yesterday after gold had laid and I had lifted her from the nest box she kept returning. Gold was still there at the end of the day and I lifted her and perched her in the chicken shed.

Gold stayed on the perch but was back in the nest box this morning and went back to the nest box again each time I lifted her out for a break.

Gold is broody
Gold has a very ragged tail

Gold, Snowflake and Dot all have some ragged tail feathers. They will be pristine again after the end of year moult.

Gold is typical of a broody girl in that she will just sit where I put her until I move her on. She has a lovely friendly nature and is docile when lifted from the nest box.

Gold had a dust bath, food and water and then returned to the nest box. Gold is not meant to be a broody breed but I guess there are always exceptions. She has been a good layer for three months now.

Sugar also went broody again yesterday. As our serial broody Sugar has laid her regulation eight eggs before going broody. She has gone broody every eight eggs this year.

Sugar is also broody

Sugar is a bit of an angry broody. When I lift her out of the nest box she will chase away any girl who dares to come near her. She will often shout too. Luckily she is fine with me though and has never pecked me.

Oh well, we seem to be having a spell of broody girls! I should be used to it by now.

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Flame is back to normal

Flame has now had two full days without her eye drops and I haven’t seen her close her right eye at all. She looks back to normal.

The last time we missed just one eye drop her eye started closing again. I think we must have stopped too soon. This time we have missed four eye drops and haven’t seen her eye close at all. She looks completely back to normal.

Flame’s right eye today
Flame’s left eye

I am happy that Flame is back to normal, hurrah!

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Flame is through her broody spell

This morning I put Flame back in the run. At first I left the nest boxes closed but when she showed no sign of going towards them I opened them and she took no notice. She is through her broody spell.

Flame is back with her flock mates.

I think Flame was really pleased to be back with the flock. I haven’t seen her with her eyes closed for the last couple of days so we are stopping the eye drops again today. I will keep a close watch on her and see how she goes.

Flame has been eating, drinking, dust bathing and doing all the usual chicken things. She does sit in the shade quite a bit but that is her age and is usual for her.

I am hopeful that she will be okay. I will be watching over her and will be updating her progress.

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Flame has a set back

We thought Flame was better and stopped giving her the eye drops on Friday. Yesterday when I lifted her for a break from the chicken shed at the end of the day she had her right eye closed again. I was so disappointed.

Flame when I lifted her from the chicken shed Saturday afternoon

I decided I needed to break her from her broodiness so that I could keep a better watch over her. We also decided to continue with her eye drops. I know she can’t stay on them forever but it seems that after missing a day her eye is closing again so there is nothing to lose for now by continuing them.

I decided to start Flame in the broody crate at the end of the day. It usually takes two days and two or three nights to break her. I hadn’t wanted to do this earlier as it seemed mean when she already had a problem. In reality though there is not much difference for her to be sitting in a crate or sitting in the corner of the shed.

I put in a dish of water, a dish of mash and a perch. I watched over Flame once she was in and she had a good feed from the mash first which was good to see.

Flame then went straight to the perch and started preening. This is also good because in the chicken shed she won’t perch. I have tried perching her at the end of the day and she would drop back down again yet in the crate she will perch.

Flame preening and showing her right eye
Preening and showing her left eye which is more round and open

Once Flame had finished preening she settled down on the perch.

Flame’s right eye as she settles on the perch
At rest Flame’s right eye closes

As she was settled I closed up the shed for the night.

I feel certain that the problem is just an eye problem as if it was something respiratory or some other underlying problem it would effect both eyes. Flame has been rubbing at her eye with her claws which of course is not helpful but shows that it is irritating her.

This morning I closed the nest boxes and shed pop hole and put Flame back in the run for a break. Flame wasn’t interested and when she couldn’t get in the shed she sat on top of a nest box.

We gave her the eye drop and I returned her to the crate. I will do the usual of closing the nest boxes and giving Flame a break in the run several times throughout the day.

I will continue until I break Flame of her broody spell and will continue with the eye drops until they run out. I will then have a chat with the vet to see what we should do going forward.

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Flame is better and the girls have a fish treat

I haven’t seen flame close her eye since last Sunday when she went broody. It was an inconvenient time for her to go broody as it’s made it more difficult to watch her.

I have tried when possible to spy on Flame through the pop hole to check her eyes are open as I wondered if she would open them when she hears me opening the chicken shed door.

I get Flame out of the chicken shed for a break several times a day. She has had her eyes open all the time but being broody she does everything at speed. It’s water then food then a speedy dust bath and then a quick preen of her feathers and back in again.

However I am convinced that she is back to normal and we gave her her last eye drops on Friday so that she had had a full week on them.

To celebrate I gave the girls a fish treat this morning which gave me a chance to photograph the whole flock together. I lifted Flame out to join the girls and she happily joined in with the fish treat.

A fish treat for the girls
A great way to get some group photos
The girls love a fish treat
Flame is looking good

From the back and left to right we have Salmon and in front of her we have Storm and Sugar. Next is Dot then Snowflake then Flame. In front we have Spangle and Gold in the foreground.

It was only a few minutes before the fish dishes were empty.

I am happy with how Flame is looking. I am hopeful that at six years old we have swerved a problem for her and given her the chance to go on to reach a good age.

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Flame is broody

At the same time that Sugar came back into lay Flame went broody. We seem to constantly have five out of eight girls laying!

This does make it easy to pick Flame up for her eye drops but then she is easy to pick up anyway.

We are so lucky that Flame is a docile and placid girl. We have had angry broody seramas in the past who would peck me. As Flame is our biggest and heaviest girl it is so good that she isn’t an angry broody and I can pick her up easily without ever worrying about her pecking.

I am lifting her out for a break several times a day plus twice a day for her eye drops. It makes it a little harder to see what is going on with her but every time I have opened the chicken shed door her eyes have been open.

Broody Flame when I lift her from the chicken shed
Flame just sits where I put her until I move her on

Flame has her right eye open so that’s good.

Flame and Storm together in the chicken shed

Storm likes to sit next to Flame when she lays her egg and she also often perches next to Flame at bedtime.

When I next checked Storm was out and Flame was sitting on Storm’s little egg. Despite their difference in size and age these two are often together.

I will keep going with the eye drops until I am absolutely sure that Flame is no longer closing her right eye. I want to be sure she is really over this before I stop and she is so good at letting us handle her. She is a sweet girl.

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Before I update on chicken progress I just have to put out one photo of the next rose.

Another rose

This rose was already here when we moved in fifteen years ago but was hidden behind shrubs. Since we gave it room it has spread and it flowers from now until the first frosts.

Group photo

I thought it would be good to get a group photo while the girls had their greens this morning. They are such a pretty flock.

Flame had seemed completely back to normal since her first eye drops at the vet on Thursday and we were thinking we might stop giving them to her.

Then today for the first time since her vet visit she had her right eye closed this afternoon so we have decided to carry on with them. I have just checked on her again and her eye is open but we will keep going for longer and keep watching her closely.

In other news Sugar laid an egg yesterday for the first time since her latest broody spell and as usual for her it was two weeks after I broke her out of her broodiness.

Spangle only laid five eggs this year before she stopped and had a partial moult. It’s now six weeks since she last laid.

Salmon hasn’t started to lay this year but she looks really amazing with a lovely red face and comb. I am quite happy to have her never lay again as long as she stays healthy.

Dot laid four eggs each one four days apart and then stopped and hasn’t laid for two weeks now. She has been moulting too. I think perhaps because she matured at the end of last year she has started an early moult and may resume laying when she stops dropping feathers.

Flame, Gold, Snowflake and Storm are all laying well. With Sugar back in lay we now have five out of eight girls laying and yesterday had a five egg day.

We have now had enough eggs to give some to our neighbours on either side of us and still plenty for us to have them as often as we want. Well done girls!

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