Tuesday, 2 April 2013

A tale of two pests

Sorry for my absence last week: A relatively sunny bank holiday weekend seemed to take me away from my computer for the most part. A most pleasant experience. Did everyone else have a good long weekend?

I must admit though, I have a confession to make. Well, two confessions really. Deep breaths and here we go:

Confession number one
The first concerns last weeks worming. For a while now we've noticed that Fizzy has seemed a little under the weather. She seemed to be eating fine which is one thing to check, and she's never laid an egg which makes it hard to notice that she might have stopped laying, yet she stopped being her normal boisterous self. We'd assumed that this was because she'd slipped down a place or two in the pecking order. As each of the other hens has started to lay that seems to have given them a higher status, leaving poor Fizzy as a bit of an outsider.

However, a week after giving them wormer and she seems to have perked up again. She's still not really part of the group with the others but she's seeming a bit more full of life, and has started to tell us off again if we dare not give her a treat when we go out into the garden.

This is really good to see, but makes me feel bad that we hadn't spotted the problems earlier - and reminds me that at the end of the day we're still novices at this. We'll continue to keep an eye on her (and the others) to make sure that she doesn't pick them up again - and maybe she'll start laying soon if she's feeling better.

Confession number two
We were spending some time with them on Saturday and noticed that Pepper was looking a bit scragglier than normal. Digging around under her wings into the softer downier feathers I spotted a louse scurrying for cover. I only ever saw the one no matter how hard I looked, so we're hoping this isn't a bad infestation, but we gave all four hens a hefty dose of lice powder and disinfected the coop. Again, this is going to be one to keep an eye on and make sure that we've sorted now.

I'll tell you one thing though - I'm so glad that we've make a point of learning how to handle our hens, and getting them used to regular handling. They certainly don't come to us voluntarily, but the process of catching each hen and administering the lice powder was so much simpler than it would have been six months ago. The hens stayed fairly calm, and the whole fiasco was done in a matter of minutes. Phew!

p.s. Sorry for the lack of photos for this one, we acted first and thought about photos second!

1 comment:

  1. I for one can do without photos of worms or lice :) I think looking after anything is humbling. Everyone always says new parents worry so much about every unusual noise their baby makes and feel like the worst parent in the world if they can't stop their baby crying. It takes practice to know what's wrong with any living thing!