Ticking over

The rain this morning stopped me walking down to the allotment as early as I had planned. By the time jobs were done at home, it was almost lunchtime before I arrived on site. I met Geoff at the gate and said hello. My first priority was Pop and checking on how she was doing.

A lot of our chickens are older girls, rescued from farms in the case of the Warrens Hattie and Georgie, or inherited from other allotmenteers who are rotating their flock (just about every other chicken we have ever had but not hatched). The downside of having older girls is that they tend to pick up more illnesses and eventually pass away. I had a chat with Cliff about Pop and we both agreed she might have had a stroke. Older hens are prone to heart problems and Pop is quite an old lady. Her difficulty with her legs and struggling to coordinate pecking at her food are quite suggestive of a stroke. I picked her up and put her outside in her favourite sunbathing spot with some fresh water. She had a quick sip of water but wasn’t interested in the sunflower seeds I tried to bribe her with.

As I fed the other girls, I could see her watching what was going on. Hattie seemed a bit quiet today so I picked her up and checked her over. She wasn’t impressed and disappeared off to scratch for some treats. As they were polishing off their seeds, I went to Rachael’s plot and pulled out some weeds for them. I scattered the weeds around and tried to tempt Pop with some but she was too busy having a nap in the sunshine with Polly and Georgie to keep her company.

Leia’s chicks continue to be very adventurous and I had to keep pushing them back into the coop. I then told Leia off for not keeping better track of her chicks. They hoovered the mealworms and enjoyed making a mess with the weeds. Leia took a few minutes break to stretch her legs and wings. You can’t blame her – five chicks to look after is hard work!

On walking back to our plot, I spotted that Mussolini was having a nap on a perch in Mick the Greek’s coop. Slowly, I crept up and managed to get a photo of him asleep on the job.

Back on the plot, I realised the pond pump wasn’t working. Even with overcast weather, it usually pumps a bit. When I went over, I found the water level had dropped again. The pump is amazing but in the wind, the water gets blown out of the pond. A couple of watering cans filled it back up to where it should be. Tweaking the pump direction hopefully should stop it going out of the pond.

By now it was definitely lunchtime, so after several minutes of dithering about Pop, I left her to enjoy the sunshine. We would walk back after lunch to put her into the nest box.

At the end of our afternoon walk, we went back to the allotment to check on Pop. She had managed to shuffle herself further forward and was resting against the side of the coop. I picked her up and put her back into the nest box. Immediately, she shuffled forward to sit half out of the nest box to see what was going on. We set her up with fresh water and moved her food forward so she could reach it.

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