Sunday, April 8, 2012

And Then There Were Five.......

Bringing the new pullets home Friday brought my total number of chickens to 6 - a number manageable only because they are bantams, and so small.


Dolly was fine yesterday morning, but by early afternoon was very sick, with labored breathing and, much  more than lethargy - she couldn't hold her head up and only opened her eyes a couple of times. I immediately put everyone on Sulmet in their water, and began forcing some down Dolly with a syringe.  She was much worse by last night, and this morning when I got up, she was gone.  (None of the other birds are showing any symptoms)

To be fair, she had a bout with something similar, but less severe,  about 2 or 3 weeks ago, and snapped out of it overnight on the Sulmet - which I kept everyone on for a week after that.   When the new birds came in, they went right into a quarantine cage, and I practiced rigorous 'hand hygiene."  (I do work in a hospital, after all)   I don't believe in coincidences, so I figure she either picked up a virus they brought in, especially if she was in a weakened condition from her earlier symptoms, or something regenerated her illness from before.

But why is it always your favorite?

She was quite a little character, and will be missed.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Three French Hens

Actually, they are asian (all Cochins), and they are pullets, not hens....but you get my drift.

With the rooster gone, I had room in my coops for at least one more chicken.  I went to Wildwood Aviary in Indiana yesterday.  I knew I would be picking up one or two Cochin pullets (which in my heart, I knew meant two for sure) .  When I let her know I was definitely interested in one of her birds, Twila had picked out one for me with a really cute personality, since she knows that's what I like.

(photo courtesy Wildwood Cochins)  

Her pick for me was Jasmine.   Jasmine's color is called 'Calico,' and is a new development among the Cochin breeders. 

This is Twila's main breeding barn.  She has a separate building where she keeps the babies and juveniles. She also has a great interest in gardening, so her place is very pretty with ponds, waterfalls, and various 'living lawn ornaments." 

When it came time to pick another, Twyla said she would be giving me that one, to make up for my "losses' the last time I bought from her.  One of the babies I got then turned out to be a rooster and had to be re-homed, and the other (Dolly) is OK herself,  but is a carrier for a disorder, and should never be bred.  

Like a kid in candy store.......  Twyla breeds many different colors of bantam Cochins, and they are all so pretty.   I narrowed it down to a Lavender (aka self-blue) and Jasmine's sister, another Calico.   It was so hard to you know how it turned out!  I came home with all three.  That's how 'chicken math' works - you go for one, and come home with several.   

 My friend Delores who took the "road trip" with me was no help - she kept whispering "take all three, take  all three."  ........Enabler.  

This is Jasmine's and the other sister's Mom and Dad - the  two Calicos on the left.   The third of the breeding trio  - the one with  more brown and black, is called a 'mille fleur.'  I don't care for that color/pattern much because I think it's too 'busy.' 

Here are the new girls minutes after getting home.   The Lavender in the center is really much lighter than she appears here - more of a silver-gray. 

Everyone seems happy, but even though they were in a large coop at Wildwood with about 12 other birds, and didn't pay attention to each other there, the two sisters are very bonded here, and are shoving the other one off by herself.  The pecking order is working itself out, and I'm hoping after quarantine, the lonesome one can find herself a friend.  In the meantime, she is the friendliest one toward me - more than Jasmine who was picked for her personality!   

Jasmine may keep her name, especially if she responds to it.   For the Lavender girl, I think I will use Martha again (the little rooster was Martha - briefly - last Spring) both for Martha Washington, and also for long-suffering Martha in the Bible, since the others are rejecting her.  I'll have to work on a "First Lady" name for the second little Calico. 

Welcome to Wren Cottage, girls!!