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.

Marek’s and Myrtle

bluebell hen

I’m really sad to announce that my bluebelle hen, Myrtle, passed away today at the tender age of 17 months. She went downhill incredibly fast, suffering from suspected Marek’s. Symptoms were paralysis of both legs (splayed), paralysis of the neck with blindness and inability to feed or drink. I took her to my vet today and the diagnosis was exactly what I feared. The decision was made – there’s no treatment for Marek’s and I wasn’t prepared to let her suffer.

bluebell chicken

I understand Myrtle has some fans via the blog, I’m so sorry to break this sad news to you. I’m incredibly upset to lose her from such a cruel disease. Marek’s is very contagious and only time will tell how this situation will develop with regards to her flock mates.