Friday, 25 May 2012

Allotment update & problem chickens ... ...

We've actually had some sunshine, and for more than a few hours, so I took the opportunity to visit the plot, not much to report, although things are progressing at a nice pace, the spuds are doing okay, but will need lots of water, which means many trips to the tap with buckets and watering cans.

The spuds -

Still got some growing to do.

The strawberry plants seem to be doing okay as well, soon have some fruit on them - 

Best keep the kids away from them, or they'll disappear quickly.

I also managed to get some more peas in the ground and some broad beans (bit later than I intended) and I got a row of turnips in, quite like a nice turnip, there's a fair bit of weeding to do in amongst the stuff that's already been sown, but I shall probably leave that for a slightly less warm day, it was very hot.

The string for the peas and beans - 

The kids love peas straight from the plant, but then who doesn't.

 And apart from the odd bit of weeding that's about all I did, just keeping on top of things really.

You may or may not know that we have 3 chickens at the moment, and for the most part it's been pretty much plain sailing, but we have had some small issues, although not really a problem to be honest it's all adding to our chicken keeping experience.

Problem chicken - 'A' (also known as Zelda)

She's fine now, and doing well despite the problems.

Yes meet Zelda (subject 'A') we noticed a couple of weeks ago that she seemed to be staying away from the other chickens, and she seemed kind of down and not very enthusiastic about anything, not even food, it was then that we noticed her crop was very large, and felt like a balloon full of water, it was also very warm to the touch.

So after some checking online we discovered that she may have something called sour crop, which is essentially a fungal infection caused by the crop not emptying and the food that's in it fermenting, and that's what would have happened had we not discovered that for some odd reason the daft chicken had some how swallowed a large stone which had basically blocked her crop and was stopping it from emptying.

One of the things you can do to help with sour crop is to pick the chicken up and tip it forward which make the bird vomit, not very pleasant, and it has to be done with some care as you can cause the chicken to choke, this is how we discovered the stone, it came out on the second attempt at getting her to vomit (luckily) and after that she was fine, we did give her some natural yoghurt which helps balance the bacteria in the crop out, they really like natural yoghurt by the way, I am pleased to say that Zelda is now back to her old self, which basically means eating anything that moves.

And now subject 'B'(also known as Dotty)

Wot you looking at ! ?

This is more a normal problem, if there is such a thing, it seems Dotty has turned a touch broody (okay a lot broody) this is basically a natural response to laying eggs, she's trying to hatch them, which might not seem like a problem, however the eggs aren't going to hatch, and so she's sitting on any eggs she finds and staying there, and because of this she isn't eating as much as she should, chickens have been known to starve themselves trying to hatch eggs, not good.

The treatment for this is patience (on our part) we've been disrupting her when she's in the nest boxes, we've also been taking the eggs away when they are laid, although Dotty herself has stopped laying, and as soon as the other chicken have laid we now shut off the nest box altogether, we've also been leaving it shut over night as well, it sounds mean but it's for the best, and at least now once she realises she can't get into the nest boxes she goes and eats and scratches about like she should be doing.

Ideally we would separate her from the other so that disruptions to the other hens is kept at a minimum, but we aren't really set up for that, and things aren't too bad, in fact I'd go as far as to say things are slowly improving, one of the other things we tried and had results from is putting Dotty into a bucket of cold water, yes you read that right, because she is running very warm (she's basically a walking incubator) using cold water cools her down, and because she can't get back to the nest boxes she's not able to warm up as quickly, this apparently cures them of the broodiness, so far it seems she is much less broody than she was, but the main thing is she's eating and not likely to starve any time soon, I'll keep you updated.

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. get the hen some fertilized eggs..that should help.