Musical chickens

This morning I got down to the allotment early and was half way through sorting out Pop when Phil dropped by to say hello. It turns out that the remaining white leghorn cockerel is being picked up by the local farmer today. We had a chat about what to do with Leia’s chicks as four we won’t be able to keep (they will go to the local farmer, who must be drowning in cockerels from our site!), leaving the pullet on her own. Leia will need to go into the main coop shortly as the chicks are pretty much independent now. It’s bad for chickens to be on their own, they are social birds and rely on others to roost with overnight to keep them warm. Phil suggested putting our girl in with their leghorns so she had some company. Steve appeared and said he would happily put the chick in with his when all the boys had gone later in the day. I agreed it would be perfect and thanked them for taking her.

Next, I needed to clean out and refill the water. It took a few minutes but it’s vital to ensure the chickens don’t pick up any nasties. I topped up their food and chased Tommy away from Pop. Leia and the chicks were a little soggy when I fed them. Clearly, they had been enjoying being in the rain although Leia didn’t look too impressed.

Back in the main coop, Pop seems to be continuing to improve. After doing a bit of research last night, I checked her crop. It had some food in which means either her crop is emptying slowly or she has already eaten before I got down to the coop. The crop is located a few inches down from the beak, on the right hand side of the neck. It should be empty and flat in the morning, and full in the evening to ensure they have enough food to keep them going overnight. The crop is a vital part of the chicken’s digestive system and should be checked regularly. If all is well, it should feel like a bean bag with no hard clumps or masses of liquid.

Her crop is fine and she is able to pull herself more than yesterday and stay upright for longer. One of her legs is improving although I am not sure about the other one. Her comb is pink, she is eating, drinking and isn’t egg bound. I still can’t work out what’s wrong but it could just be old age. Geoff reckons she is anywhere from 5 to 7 years old. Hopefully she will continue to improve.

Later on, I had a message from Steve saying they had moved our pullet in with their chicks and she had settled in well. I will pop down tomorrow to see how she is doing. Steve and Phil have an odd chicken which they have identified as a Swedish Flower Hen. It’s a beautiful little bird which runs free range in Sweden. As such, it’s a hodgepodge of breeds. Steve offered to swap our white leghorn pullet for the Swedish Flower Hen. It’s an offer we were happy to accept as it gives us an opportunity to try a new breed and it helps Steve and Phil to boost the number of their white leghorn pullets ready for breeding next summer.

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