For the past fortnight we have been nursing Clover, one of our first ex-caged hens. Having dealt with many chicken ailments over the years; crop checked for food blockage, abdomen checked for egg blockage or swelling, wormed, antibiotics, critical care (Lucozade for chickens) syringed twice a day, vitamins, wet pellets with oil and porridge to no avail. The vet was stumped too… We have sadly watched her decline and this evening we took her to the vet for the very last time.
I know many believe that we devote too much time and money to our pets and many have asked over the years “why not eat her?”, “just wring her neck!”, they wouldn’t bother. Let me explain why we care so much. Like the famous song that you will now be singing for the next week or so “right from the start I gave them my heart”, these girlies are not food but given the status of a family member on their arrival, they are in our care and we will be with them until the bitter end.
Wherever you are beautiful Clover we hope you are happy, scratching around and dust-bathing in the sunshine with those who broke a little of our hearts before you. We will miss you. x
So I haven’t posted on our chickens for some while, the last being a rainy day back in May when we had to say goodbye to lovely Lily. In July last year we adopted our first two ex-caged hens(Essex girls saved from slaughter), Poppy and Clover, who have settled in so well. We have had our fair share of chicken issues but these two have been a healthy pair (here is hoping I won’t jinx it). One of them no longer lays which is not unusual as reproductive issues are common for such intensively farmed birds but she is enjoying her retirement none the less in our back garden.
A settled Poppy and Clover
With the loss of Lily and a family with an increasing appetite for eggs we decided to adopt another two in May this year, named Petal and Fleur (though they are so similar I suspect they may have interchangeable names). As there were already two sturdy birds in residence we had to keep the weedy pair separate until they adjusted to a life outdoors and gained in confidence and strength.
After a week and a half we started to mix them for short periods in a larger area that we had constructed to increase their free ranging abilities. The introductions were stressful with lots of squawking and pecking and chasing (and panicking for me). The decision was made to wait a little longer and they were not fully integrated until the end of week three. Petal and Fleur still have a long way to go, they are much skinnier than Poppy and Clover and have many feathers to regrow but they now all live happily together. I will keep you updated on their progress…