Bertha, who joined us in October last, was not long for this world.
Two weeks ago, she was clearly unwell – bleeding from her rear end. On closer inspection it seemed she had a prolapsed vent and that Persephone had pecked at it and caused an injury. I read up on what you have to do, and that was bathe her to get the blood off and see what was going on, gently push the vent back in and isolate her from the attentions of other chickens. Chickens are cannibals. Who knew?
To keep her safe, I cleaned her up and then brought her into the house in a cat carrier we have repurposed for fowl use. She was definitely in a bad way on Saturday night – I put her in the box, closed the door, slightly trapping her tail feathers. She didn’t move for 12 hours.
However, the following morning, she was clearly a bit perkier. Opening the conservatory door she cheeped at us, and when we started to feed her again – she’d been starved so she wouldn’t lay another egg and injure her vent again – she went for the food. Thinking she was well on the mend, I put her back in the run. But not a happy outcome – a few mornings later and she was no longer with us.
So, a few weeks later and I’ve restocked the coop. This time it’s new season birds, very small, and still a month or maybe two from laying.
They are a Copperhead Maran and a Barred Rock. The Barred Rock reminds P of a falcon and so is probably going to be called Peregrine. Is there a feminine version? Peregrina? No name yet for the copperhead who, we are promised, will iridesce in the sun.
We dropped them into the chicken palace along with some seeds and mealworms and there was vanishingly little squabbling. A little bit of arguing nothing too serious, so I left them to it.
Long after dark I went back down the garden to see how it was going. Persephone has now been used to us for so long that when we go down the garden in the middle of the night, she wakes up and comes to see us. For too long over the winter I’ve not been home in daylight and all of the henwrangling has been done after dark. The new birds know nothing of this and were sleeping peacefully in the hen house.