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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Farewell to a Good Layer

No pictures today, they would have been too graphic I'm afraid.

Sadly we lost one of our girls today because of vent prolapse. I noticed one of the girls looking pale...that is to say her comb was light salmon and flopped and her eyes instead of being bright and alert seemed all black with no colour. Alarm bells sounded straight away. Upon closer inspection she had a lot of blood coming from her vent. We have been getting some enormous eggs from these girls and I suspect this fowl's vent was too small. She is a crossbreed (Australorp, Whyandotte, and something else)and I think she got the genetic imprint for a smaller vent than her egg size.
We cleaned her up with tepid water to have a good look but it was clear she was still bleeding. Maybe she had another egg impacted in the oviduct causing hemorrhage. Prolapses can be cleaned and smeared with lubrication and pushed back in but more than likely pop out again with the next lay. For a valued breeder, some would put the bird in a confined dark place on a subsistence diet to allay egg production and keep this way for a couple of months. For a plain old layer, the kindest thing is to euthanise. If left in the coop with this complaint there is a risk of infection, fly irritation and cannibalisation from fellow fowl.
In general the story is not good. So we thank her for all she provided us with and bid her a fond farewell. While this is a respectful nod to our good layer, it is also a story of reality for anyone wanting to keep fowl in the backyard. There is a lot of cute names for the chickens etc but owners must also be prepared for the reality of culling birds. The number of dumped roosters in suburbia is on the rise and that's not fair to anyone. If you have a sick or injured bird, you must be prepared to euthanise.
On a happier note, all 21 chickens (pure bred Australorp)in the nursery are doing well and are now 10 days old and sprouting significant primary feathers. There was a bit of diarrhea in the pen so I have added some raspberry juice to their water and mixed some raspberries into their mash and they are right as rain now. Gave the rest of the raspberries to the older chooks for good measure, they love them anyway.

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