Connie is out and about again … but she has never been ‘one of the crowd’ so is often on her own somewhere, and usually runs in the opposite direction if you throw some treats in the way of the hens. Her legs look as if there might still be some scaly leg mite around, so one evening, when they’re settled in the coop, I will take them out one by one and dose them with Frontline*. I smothered Connie’s legs with Vaseline a while back, which is said to help, so I might do that as well, at the same time.
Two of the Moppets are now broody, though one isn’t as committed as the other! So when I look out into the garden, sometimes there are three and sometimes four …
It was a very windy day … !
It’s taken a while, but the Moppets have now learned that there may be treats when I appear at the back door (and that I’m worth investigating even if I’m not calling them!). They still don’t come close, but they do come running … quite a sight.
The long-term broody bantam was a lightweight to begin with. She weighs no more than her feathers now. In the past I’ve gone to great lengths to break a brood just for that reason, but it’s not always practical, so this time we decided to let nature take it’s course. Certainly, when I lift her out, her crop seems reasonably full and is still soft, so she must be eating something.
Sadly, we had to cull our last ex-batt … she had a prolapse. So now we are five of each. The bantams are elderly, at least as far as we know – we have had them over two years and they were supposedly 3 or 4 years old when they arrived. While the hens came a year later at point of lay, about 4 months old, so must be around 19 months old now … just past the age of commercial viability. And certainly their egg quality isn’t as good as it has been.
We’ve no plans to get any more hens for a while (we had thought last year that we might be moving house and the idea of moving a dozen hens was really quite daunting). And indeed, with our regular chicken-sitter out of action, it’s been difficult to get away as often as we are used to. But DH loves his girls, so we are content. Perhaps I should investigate a house-swap with some like-minded chicken keepers somewhere … ?!
* Not licensed for hens, but effective in treating mites and lice. However, in our area, Frontline is no longer effective against cat fleas, which is it’s primary purpose.