Nursing a poorly chicken

I got down to the allotment this morning to find Squeak sitting quietly in the corner of the coop. It’s rather unusual behaviour for her and even more so when she showed no interest in bread. She is always the first one to get the first piece as she elbows the others out of the way to ensure she gets it. She refused food and initially water too which was worrying.

I spoke to Geoff and he came to have a look at her. She wasn’t wanting to move much which made it absurdly easy to catch her. Again, not good. Geoff gave her some antibiotic drops which have cleared off infection in other birds and I kept a close eye on her for the next couple of hours.

I put her down right next to the water bowl and there she stayed half dozing until I left. Whilst I was watching she did drink and keep down the regular sips of water she was taking. By the time I left she had perked up a little and was looking around the coop and assessing it which is encouraging. Geoff said he will pop down later this evening to check on her and potentially give her another dose.

Nelly and Daisy are still struggling to get to the food so I resorted to underhand tactics – a hidden bowl of food under the nest box as well as strategic handfuls of food spread around the edge of the nest box. The idea being that if they get chased off the 3 food bowls there is still food they can get to. Invariably, it had limited success as chickens are nosey as well as greedy. Soon, Al lthe other chickens were finding my little-used of food and scoffing their beaks. However, I did see Daisy and Nelly getting some food so perhaps it wasn’t a total disaster.

I went to join the gang at the clubhouse for a natter to discover that Phil had managed to finish the gravel section and put a couple chairs and a little table out. It looks rather good. In fact, it looks so good that I now must do something to improve the area in front of our greenhouse.

I dithered for a while, determined to do something productive but equally determined not to do something that would endure heat stroke. The weeks of heat have left my water butts horrendously low. They are likely to stay that way for the next few weeks if the Met Office is to be believed.

I watched everyone else being productive for a while, hoping it would rub off on me. It didn’t. Cliff and Geoff looked extremely busy checking their fruit bushes and raised beds.

Rachael came around with a wheelbarrow full of strange vegetables, offering them to people. I chose a bizarre looking, almost snake-like thing which I am reliably informed is a courgette. This looks like no courgette I have ever seen but I will take Rachael on her word!

Finally, I decided that something must be done about the state of our strawberry bed. It’s buried under several tons of mare’s tail. Conveniently, it is adored by chickens so as I cleared the bed, I threw the offending mare’s tail into the coop to be obliterated by hungry chickens. Squeak watched me carefully and although she didn’t move, I think she might have had a nibble after I left. I hope she did.

Tomorrow afternoon sees both my husband and I treating the chickens legs a second time in order to get rid of their scaley leg once and for all. It’s probably going to be too hot to clear the last section of the plot by the potatoes but Steve should be around for the bee check. It’s one of my favourite parts of being on site.

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