And Then There Were Three

garden hens

Still feeling shaken by the recent and sudden loss of Myrtle (bluebelle hen) to neural Marek’s disease, I’ve been watching the other girls intently for signs of illness or anything untoward. Generally, they seem well.

garden hens

However, I’ve recently noticed a shape change to the pupil of Ginny’s (Speckledy hen) left eye and slight pigment loss to the iris with a grey area. The pupil no longer round and uniform in shape as it previously was, I could of course be worrying over nothing but then again it could be early stages of Ocular Marek’s. If it is, the reality is certain blindness and whatever else the disease decides to throw at her. I have been testing eye reactions whenever possible and the pupil dilates and contracts as normal, meaning that she still has sight in this eye.

chicken eye problem
Blurry photo I know! A closer view of the pupil to show the shape change

On a lighter note…. We visited a great poultry place in Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire today called Cock and Pullet (love the name!). They have a fantastic range of traditional hand-built (on site) coops, none of the flat pack flimsy rubbish I often see being sold at ridiculous prices that won’t even last a winter. They hatch their own pure breed and hybrid chickens, ducks and geese and there’s a feed and bedding shop too (I bought a sack of Marriage’s layers meal, having heard great things about it). Helpful and friendly staff, we were given a tour around the farm. They really knew their stuff and I was really impressed with how they kept their animals, particular the very spoilt ducks and geese who even had their own lake!

speckledy hen

So that’s the latest on the girls, as you can see they seem pretty happy and healthy, fingers crossed things stay that way.

All Grown Up

Left to right: Fleur (Coral hen), Hermione (Columbine hen), Myrtle (Bluebelle hne) and Ginny (Speckledy hen).
Left to right: Fleur (Coral hen), Hermione (Columbine hen), Myrtle (Bluebelle hen) and Ginny (Speckledy hen).

A year on and the hybrid hens are all grown up, if a little scruffy looking (they’re currently going through a ‘mini moult’). Have you noticed how big their combs are now, compared to last year? Especially the Coral hen, Fleur, her comb is so large it flops over one side of her face, covering one of her eyes.

coral chicken

Occasionally, a gust of wind lifts her floppy comb up high into the air!

white coral chicken

It’s taken a while for Fleur and Hermione to get used to me, I cannot pick them up yet but I can reach out and touch them without feathers flying everywhere, occasionally I get a disapproving peck on my hand. Ouch! These breeds are known to be ‘flighty’ (they certainly are timid birds), having always kept rescue hens I’ve never experienced this with chickens before, ex-caged hens are not usually nervous of people for very long which is quite surprising really.

speckledy chicken

They’re all good layers, particularly Ginny and Fleur, hardly ever missing a day.  The next photos are especially for Melissa Aldana, probably Myrtle’s biggest fan! (well, apart from me of course).

bluebell chicken

bluebell chicken