Category Archives: Pets

V8 Leaves the party

It’s been a hard May for us, losing Crispy and Turbo… but then we rescued some new girls and the flock increased to 12…

for 24 hours.

V8, healthy yesterday, has been taken by egg peritonitis.

This, from PoultryKeeper.com

Egg Peritonitis is when the peritoneum (the lining of the abdomen) becomes inflamed due to an infection from bacteria. Peritonitis can occur after prolapse or when yolk goes into the abdominal cavity, instead of going down the oviduct and out in the normal way.

The yolk should go into the ‘ovarian pocket’ (the space surrounding the ovary). This often occurs after some viral diseases like Infective Bronchitis where the disease damages the reproductive tract. A ruptured intestine can also cause this problem.

Diagnosis and Treatment.

Sometimes a ‘Penguin Stance’ can indicate an egg bound hen or peritonitis but more often than not they don’t show this and may just be swollen around the abdomen and it is often hard to diagnose this problem whilst the bird is alive. The bird can have a blue comb, and diarrhoea but no book seems to believe these are conclusive and can also indicate many other problems. A post mortem on birds will show an inflamed abdomen and there will be a very putrid smell with yolk. Some birds have been treated with antibiotics and had the fluid drawn off but the chances of success are slim and you can often have a big bill at the end of this. It is usually better to have the bird put to sleep.

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All a man made problem – It’s the trouble with how they’ve been bred into egg machines. If the already dodgy internals go wrong, the blockage is often quick & serious, as they have no recovery time before the next egg follows on. Okay, it’s a bit more complicated then that, but you get the picture.

Chris was saying the other day how all other birds lay seasonally (otherwise you’d forever see ducklings at a pond etc). Chickens have been manipulated to lay daily. That’s like running a car engine on the red-line…. all of the time.

Some battery farms artificially control the light so instead of a 24hr day, the hens have an 18hr day (e.g).

This year has been pretty crap for the girls. You get used to it because, well, it’s how they are. They are so characterful & individual though, it’s obvious when one goes.

Best we can do is give them a happy retirement!

Any day spent in freedom, is a better day for these girls.


Exit Crispy, Stage Left

Crispy the Hen went today. Dammit…

She was healthy looking, but prone to quiet spells. She had stopped laying a while back – She was the oldest of the girls.

She was a bit quieter today, and retaining fluid (Chris put this down to egg peritonitis – very basically: not laying, but still producing the protein).

Chris took her to the vets to get her checked out & fluids drained.

X-Ray showed that our plump bird had a large mass in her.

As she was drained she passed away.

The vet offered to find out what it was, and Chris said that it would be fine – if she could watch.

The vet (Fred McKenzie) from Farnborough’s Pets at Home – Companion Care was very interested to find out, as they don’t often deal with chickens. Chris watched on, equally interested.

Sure Crispy was a pet – but Crispy the clucking, squawking hen had ceased to be a pet the moment she passed away, now Crispy the pet was a memory, and the vet could learn from her to potentially help others.

The vet was excellent. After dissecting her, he found that the large amount of protein due the peritonitis meant that a certain cellular disease had a wonderful playground. Excuse my language, but ‘fuck you, cancer‘.

He even phoned later, after Chris had returned home, to say he had looked further in to it. He talked with Chris and confirmed the previous discussed diagnosis, and the dissection, was confirmed by his post-op research.

Crispy – Ruler of the Garden

Once more, as with the others, she was happy right up until the end.

No pain, no suffering.

;


Goodbye, Turbo Chicken

Turbo Chicken is no more.

She may as well have been called Superleggera, for she was fast and light. It was her slightness that didn’t help in the end.

Although stable and happy, she just couldn’t recover from her recent weakened condition.

We took the decision to have her put down before she started suffering any further.

Compared to most ex-battery hens, her last days did not include being flung in a shredder, but sat in front of the TV on a comfy armchair, being fed good food, watching The Fantastic Four – Rise of the Silver Surfer (good reactions from her), and James Bond – The World is not Enough (she wasn’t too impressed).

I’ve been expecting you, Mr Bond…


Chris & Bonnie Ride Out Again

Another dressage event for Chris and Bonnie (last one HERE).

Alex chatting to Chris & Bonny before the event

During warm up, Bonnie had already decided she wasn’t going to play.

The end results sheet said exactly what Chris thought :

“Well done! A lovely little horse. Just needs to show more freedom of step and bend.

Yeah, Bonnie was in a playful, stubborn mood, so I’m not surprised she appeared reigned in!

Excuse the music, but the wind noise was terrible. Mute at will!


What are you, CHICKEN?!?!

Splitter!!!!

Splitter!!!

Chris has gone off to write a more chickeny, horsey, pussy related blog for the family.

Here you can learn about buying and restoring ex-battery hens…. Hmmm, too much classic car work on my mind..

At CRISPYSNIPS.COM you can find out how to go about looking after hens at home. Yup, if you’ve thought about doing it, then Chris will tell you what’s involved and how to go about doing it.

There are lots of sites telling you in depth how to keep hens, but not a lot give you a basic run down up front to let you know what you are letting yourself in for!

Her site also has horse and cat related tips and advice, plus lots of other news and views from around Chris!

Go check it out!


V8, 22 and Bunty… yup…

After Chicken 11 passed away I mention to a friend who was still undecided as to wether getting hens was a good idea, that if he really thought he had made the wrong choice, that we’d take on his three girls.

Much though he liked them, he decided that it wasn’t going to work for him, so today we added these ex-battery hens to our flock.

V8, Bunty and Chicken 22 (named in respect of Chicken 11) have settled right in and seem happy enough. They have met Mel, Ginger, Terri 2, Turbo & Crispy (albeit through mesh fence) and there seem to be no squabbles at all. A few raised voices, but no chest puffing and sizing up.

The drive home

The release….

 

Chris and Bunty

 

All together now...


Sad news as Chicken 11 bows out

‘Chicken Eleven’ – named by Alex because he just liked the sound of it, sadly had to be put to sleep after enjoying just over a year of free range happiness since her rescue from the chop, following the disgusting battery farm life she had been through.

The poor girl wasn’t going to get better after her problem, and although she was happy (albeit a bit quiet) it was not a way of life she could sustain.

Her last full day and we took some movie clips of her having a bath & a blow dry.

Click for videos: Chicken Eleven ~ Bath & a blow-dry.

She was one of our first hens, and although she was a bit on the quiet side, she soon had a following of friends on Facebook & Twitter who often asked after her. Strange but true.


Chicken 11 – Bath and a blow-dry

Chicken Eleven is an ex-battery hen. We’ve had her in free-range freedom for just over a year now and she’s turned from a timid feather bare hen into the fully feathered friendly girl she is now.

She’s come from a battery farm which is cruel to say the least. Hens live under artificial light to make them lay more. Hens lay on a daily cycle and the artificial light is used to simulate shorter days. As such a hen really has no recovery time and is pushed until they are just disposed of.

Eleven has just suffered a problem that may mean she has limited time left with us if she doesn’t heal up. Her insides are now out. She’s pushed the back-end out (looks like the size of a big strawberry), and that’s not a good thing. She’s fine – not bothered at all by it – but it could be prone to infection, and it’ll lead her to being prey for the other chickens.

Sadly this means she may be put down if treatment doesn’t rectify the problem. One thing we have done is to keep her in the dark (to stop the egg laying) and feed her yoghurt/hen feed mix, with poultry spice. She has a hard-boiled egg for lunch to keep her protein intake up. One thing NOT to do is use any haemorrhoid creams on the ‘expulsion’ as this is not that type of thing and the creams will make it worse. We have seen lots of reports where natural honey smeared on the ‘expulsion’ helps… and that seems to be helping her.

Anyway, to make sure the back-end is kept clean we have had to soak her in a warm bath, which she really enjoys. To dry her off afterwards she has a blow dry…. yes… a blow dry.

She’s quite happy with the whole deal and even started to lay down and doze in the bath. I was sat next to her as she was blow dried and she leant up against me and started to doze again. She’s very content, and it’ll be a shame if we have to lose her.


Hens, Alex and Millie

Alex is looking after another school pet (toy) for the weekend. The kids have to keep a diary over the weekend that they have the pet. Last time it was Buster – We kind of set the bar a bit high that time .

This time we kept things a bit homelier with ‘puppy’ Millie. Alex wanted some pictures with our girls, so how could I not oblige him?

So… here’s Alex, Puppy (his toy), Millie (the school toy) and the hens… Mel, Ginger, Crispy, Terri 2, Chicken 11 and Turbo!

 


Chicken and Cheese

For those who asked (yes, some actually asked – the fools!) I have recorded the effect cheese has on hens….

I have re-read that opening sentence and just shook my head in desperation of where I am in life now…. 🙂

Anyway, even the most timid hen realises that the human giving away cheese isn’t someone to be scared of… It’s actually helped ours adjust really quickly. Instead of bugging out and hiding, two of the more timid hens now clamber over me and get in there with the rest of the girls to get a treat.

 


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