Wednesday 20 February 2013

3 in 4

Today we had our 3 year old white Silkie hen Angie put to sleep.  In less than 4 weeks we have lost Bantam Wyandotte Amelia, black Silkie hen Jetta and now Angie.  We had a flock of 9 to begin the year and it's so sad to see 6 beautiful girls remaining with no certainty or relief of this nasty run of ill health.
Angie - gone but never forgotten and always loved

ILT Testing

Angie has been sent to the WA Department of Agriculture to be tested for ILT.  There is no way to test for ILT other than post mortem.  It's really sad that Angie will not come back home for a proper burial.  We've only ever had 1 other hen in more than 15 years not come home and that was by nothing more than a poor decision on my behalf.  

I do hope that ILT is not detected.  This would then lead the way to other potentially less serious possibilities eg. fowl diptheria/ wet fowl pox or mycoplasma/ chronic respiratory infection   ILT means no new chickens.  Not unless we want to infect previously healthy birds with a vicious viral condition.  It would mean keeping those hens we do have until they have all passed away  After which we would basically raze the existing pen, wait several weeks and then considered starting from scratch.

Jetta - 9 years of loveliness.  Fowl Pox proved too much.


Fowl Pox

In the mean time we have had Wheaten Pekin hen Alice, black Silkie Farrah and Buff Pekin Holly all with Fowl Pox.  Alice went back in to the pen on Monday 18th February.  We kept her in the house for 17 days to try and stop the spread of the Pox virus.  Such a beauty.  Alice is so tame and gorgeous.  She would bounce out of her hutch once the door was unlocked and come in to the kitchen to preen on the floor, await feeding and have a chat.  If we went outside or out of view she would call and call.  I could hear her screaming from the kitchen, no doubt the neighbours could also hear her at 7:00am as I was feeding the other girls in the garden and I'd come running in the house to tell her everything was okay.  Our dog Madi developed a bit of a fancy for Alice, typical Jack Russell stalker.  Otherwise it was all smooth sailing.  I was really happy to see Alice lay her first egg in more than 3 weeks on Monday.  She's also massively fat (in a healthy hen way) and eating well.  I have great hopes for her and her sister Holly who is equally ravenous and portly.

A Crowing Hen

Our remaining girls Selene, Rosie and Jewel have shown no signs of Fowl Pox infection.  Though both Jewel and Selene are moulting and are ripe for all sorts of nasties.  The only odd behaviour is Selene crowing occasionally.  But that's pretty standard for her.  Being the dominant hen and having her hormones twisted up at the end of the laying season she's inclined to go rogue and lose the plot a bit.  It does her no harm and due to the hit and miss nature of the occasional crowing it does not bother the neighbours in any way. I've seen Selene faux mate with the hens on occasion.  She takes her role as head chicken very seriously indeed! 

Selene - a hen in disguise

Once Again, in Writing

It's really deflating caring for the girls when they're so sick and then thinking about writing it all down on top of the medicating, Vet visits, hutch cleaning, daily hen linen laundering, crop feeding.  It just goes on and on and as much as I love them and would do it all again it does feel pretty awful to then relive it all in writing.  So the Blog suffers as they suffer.  But I do hope to get Angie's ILT results within 1 week and either move forward or deal with a rather bleak future as best we can.          

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