Saturday, 12 January 2008

Some pictures of Dopey

I have written lots about Dopey this last week. She seems to be completely over her little episode last week. But I realised there aren't any good photos of her on this blog, so I have found a couple from August.

She has always been a very friendly hen - even when I went to choose the Bovan Goldlines at Cotswold Chickens, she came straight up to say hello, and wasn't at all bothered about being caught. I'm glad she seems better.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Giant eggs

When I let the chickens out this morning, I checked the nestbox as usual, and found 2 very big eggs. Not quite ostrich size, but certainly bigger than usual. Judging from the colour, they were from Honey and Dopey (although Dopey did randomly lay a white egg earlier in the week, so who knows?). Their eggs are normally bang on 60g, occasionally 65. These were 75g, which is a quarter bigger again. It must be all the extra protein I've been giving them as part of Dopey's recuperation.

This afternoon I have made ice cream using their eggs, and it is delicious. Bearing in mind the 'Chicken Out' campaign by Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall (I'm sure that isn't right, but you know who I mean), I feel very smug about using our own happy eggs! I hope his campaign will improve conditions for both battery and broiler hens.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Dopey a lot better!

I was really expecting to find Dopey dead this morning. But when Graham opened the door to the coop, she shot out! She really does look better - her tail is back up, her comb is redder, she is holding her head up, fighting for food. She also shot out into the garden when I tried to give them some broccoli, and then flew about 6 feet up in the air! So hopefully that means she is better. She certainly seems on the mend - fingers crossed it continues!

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Dopey still not well

Dopey is still ill - she is standing hunched in the corner of the run, tail down, wings drooping, pale comb. We are going to put her in isolation in a rabbit hutch and give her some 'rescue food' - hardboiled egg, cat food, poultry spice. She doesn't look very good today, so I'm not very hopeful, but she is still pecking around occasionally. It is tough being a chicken - they hide when they are off colour until they think they are going to die, and then seem to just give up. But sometimes they are mistaken!

Friday, 4 January 2008

Update on Dopey

About 4.00 I went out to the chickens to check on them as it got dark - in the nest box was a very warm egg - I think Dopey had JUST laid it. She certainly did look a bit perkier, and was having some food and drink, so I hope tomorrow will see her well again. It wasn't a particularly big egg - perhaps a little bigger than usual, and a little longer, so maybe the cold weather blocked her up a bit? Whatever the reason, I hope she is back to her usual self tomorrow.

Dopey is not feeling well

Dopey is very quiet at the moment. Yesterday she was standing looking very uninterested in everything. Today she came out with the other chickens, and had a huge drink of water, before going in to the nest box, presumably to lay. She has been there a while - I went to check on her and she seems ok, so hopefully she is just trying to lay a big egg. I hope there is nothing more serious wrong with her. One thought was that she may be egg bound - I think the cure for this is to stand the chicken in a tub of warm water which helps them to lay. I will try this if she doesn't improve.

I think I will also give them a 'protein boost' this evening with some cat food, hard boiled eggs and poultry spice. But I hope Dopey will have picked up by then.