We all know that part of growing up involves watching others and doing as they do such as walking and talking but it recently occurred to me that my twins have started copying mundane things that we do on a daily basis. My daughter on picking up anything that remotely looks like a telephone (brick bridge?) holds it to her ear and says “ah ya!” closely followed by a long indecipherable monologue, resembling that of Trigger happy’s “I’M ON THE PHONE!!!!”. When running the bath if I forget the bathmat, which I often do, I will hear a SPLOSH! as one of them throws the mat into the bath ready for, as they have come to know it, ‘bath time fun!’. Our mealtimes have become a bit of a messy affair as they insist on feeding themselves and clearing the table after… onto the floor. On finding a brush they will attempt to run it through their hair unfortunately they are not so keen with a toothbrush.
I put it to you… with all these little day to day things being observed and mimicked what else are our children observing, absorbing and getting ready to mimic?
A fortnight ago I returned from a lovely family holiday in Cornwall to find a dirty bottomed lethargic Lily, her wings spread out hanging down by her side and when she stood still her head would begin to fall towards the floor, her eyes closed. My neighbour who had been taking care of her reported egg shells so soft that they broke when you picked them up. Lily was still eating and drinking so I felt time was still on our side. Having experienced enough chicken ailments in the last seven years to write an encyclopaedia I worked my way through the possibilities ruling them out on by one. After much deliberation and a little googling I narrowed it down to a few possibilities, egg peritonitis, infection, worms or a combination. I started my lovely lady on a course of antibiotics and ordered in worming powder called Flubenvet. Previously our ladies had been prescribed Panacur to prevent and treat worms but recently I discovered it is used for treating cats and dogs and so we had to dispose of eggs as it is not considered safe to eat the eggs produced for a period of time following treatment. Flubenvet while a little complicated to mix for a small number of chickens (you treat the whole flock) is made specifically for domesticated birds and does not require any egg withdrawal period. After four days of antibiotics Lily showed no improvement so worms were beginning to look like the culprit. Three days into the seven day worming period and Lily began to look a little livelier.
Lily has now recovered however a lesson has been learnt that I wish to share… Our chickens are wormed regularly; Lily had not been treated long before she became ill. Apparently if they have worms you must repeat the course three weeks later instead of the three months recommended as a preventative measure as the ground will be infected and reinfection is likely. I will not be making this mistake again…