If you think about it, chickens lay hundreds of eggs during their lifetime. Many times their eggs arrive just on schedule just as predicted; gorgeous warm orbs of goodness. Hens are amazing! Although rare, sometimes reproductive system and egg laying issues arise that leaves chicken keepers scratching their heads. We’ve all had weird eggs. The perfect place is to start is inside the chicken and what leads up to the laying of an egg.
As many of you have been following, Dolly has not quite been herself. As an older girl who was perpetually broody in her glory days, she has slowed down to a quiet, non-broody, little hen who naps most of her days in little patches of found sunshine. Her little Silkie Bantam body is old but still enjoys the thrill of scratching in the dirt for the morning’s scattered treats.
|Free-ranging chickens are at risk.|
As avian influenza begins to emerge in even more backyard flocks of chickens, I thought that it was time to chat a little about how and why this is happening here in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
Ginny is our Golden Laced Wyandotte. A few weeks ago, it became apparent to me that she could no longer live with the other girls as she picked up the bad habit of feather picking. It all started when her and her sisters were going through their final molts as pullets. Those new pin feathers were enticing, so enticing that she found them irresistible. She began to peck at her younger sisters removing the feathers over their tails and from around their vents while sparing the older flock.
Everything had been running so smoothly. The baby chicks were settling into their brooder and seemed to be growing right before our eyes. Their wing feathers began to grow in and our little ones had gotten the hang of scratching in the shavings and preening. Lots and lots of time spent preening. Sometimes, they were sweet and even preened one another. They dined together and slept together like a chicken quilt under the EcoGlow 20 Brooder. We just cannot get enough of these fluff balls!
|Sleeping standing up|
When we first purchased the chicks I knew they would not live forever. As their average life expectancy is five to seven years, I knew that meant that some hens might die sooner and others later. This was merely an average. Unfortunately lately, Tilly has been showing her age and my mind can’t help but fill with questions.
Long before I began blogging about the chickens, the gardens, and the bees, my career has been in medicine. Without a doubt, I draw on my experiences in medicine to care for my chickens. Yes, there is a difference between treating chickens and treating humans. However, many things do not change such as infection causing organisms, basic biological processes, wound care, and classes of medication to name a few. I wanted to do a post with some basic information that you might find helpful, specifically when a flock member becomes ill.
Chick season is upon us. This is such an exciting time of the year. It can also be one of the saddest too. Unfortunately, sometimes chicks suffer from various vitamin deficiencies that can lead to their demise. Vitamin deficiencies are easy to prevent and if caught quickly, treatable. They are also not contagious, so there is no need to isolate the affected chick. Often if chicks or chickens are showing signs of vitamin deficiencies and treatment is started, symptom improvement can be seen in a couple of days.