Posted by: hencorner | April 16, 2010

The Weak and the Strong…

So here is Ruby, we’ve been following her progress all week here at Hen Corner.

She’s a Spanish Penedesenca who we brought home about 13 months ago at point of lay (so that makes her around 18 months old). When in lay, she gives us the most beautiful hazelnut brown eggs (4-5 a week).

Ruby hasn’t been right for about six months now, she stopped laying (which is not unusual for a pure breed) and has seemed to prefer sitting huddled on the ground to scratching around with the other girls. Over the months I’ve wormed them all, kept an eye on the weak ones, checked that they are eating, drinking & pooing OK and I hoped that she’d come back in lay over spring…

Whilst she has lost some weight, she’s continued to be too spritely to catch easily – so I stopped worrying after a while…

This week, however, I’ve noticed her mobility drop considerably. She’s finding it hard to stand and I’m worried that this will affect her access to food and water. I’ve continued to research her symptoms and think it may be calcium deficiency. I’ve ordered some supplements online which should come today.

I brought her in overnight on Wednesday (keeping her in a pet carrier) with easy access to fresh water with Citricidal, mixed grit, and layers pellets mixed with a little oil to help Poultry Spice and Verm-X stick to it.

Thursday afternoon I let her out with the others on the lawn and she enjoyed pecking for some corn, then before I could stop her, she somehow managed to find the strength to hop up onto the ladder of the Eglu Cube and had made it into the nesting box. After all her effort – I let her stay there the night!

This morning, I let the girls out and when I brought fresh water to Ruby, I saw one of the others peck at her, so I’ve brought her in again for her own safety.

She has eaten, taken water and pooped… so internally, she seemed to be working. Whilst sitting down, she’s looking around and seems comfortable and interested in her surroundings…

If I’m right, then the calcium should make a difference (oyster shells in the grit, the Poultry Spice and the coming supplements). Let’s hope so…

I’ve not seen this before – so any comments are welcome!

To finish this week on the positive, we are so excited about the new asparagus bed!

We’ve been checking the bed twice a day since 1st April and last check, this morning, we’re at 19 strong spears!

They were only planted as crowns last year, so we’ve still got another year or so for the bed to become fully established.

We planted three varieties:

  • Gijnlim
  • Pacific Purple
  • Connover’s Colossal

It the Gijnlim you can see here with six spears coming from one crown already!

With the anticipation and thrill of their arrival, it may just help me stay patient as I now we can’t start eating them this year… pretty ferns again!

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Responses

  1. Poor Ruby! She’s a beautiful looking hen. I do hope all your care will bring her back to full health in the near future.

  2. You must be very strong willed to see those succulent asparagus shoots and not give in to temptation to taste some.
    I think I shall have to pay you a visit next year to judge the quality of your first harvest. LOL

  3. Oh yes, the asparagus…. well we’ve had a few accidents and have unfortunately knocked the tops of three spears…. so I had to eat them – just as a pre-season sample!


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