We’ve had Elsie and Rita for two weeks tomorrow. Two weeks already. They’ve settled in nicely; they’re enjoying the sun, loving the occasional worm they find, have created themselves a dust bath in their run and are generally enjoying life in the fresh air for the first time in their lives.
When I look at them, I still think they are in a pretty sorry state – the feathers haven’t grown back to their bare bits yet, but I realised earlier in the week that they have come a long way. I took these photos ten days after they arrived and they really show what a difference decent living conditions can make.
Their combs have really taken on a lot of colour and have started to stand up a bit more. I think they’re doing well. Here are Elsie’s before and after photos – well, arrival and day 10 photos really, I suppose:
You can see that her comb has improved, her legs look in good condition, but the biggest improvement is definitely in her feathers. They’re in much better condition; the ragged looking feathers in her tail are nicely shaped again and the feathers over her body are lying properly; her wings have filled out and are sitting properly again. She still needs to regrow her missing feathers, but it does take a while to regrow feathers.
Here’s Rita. She was in a much worse condition when she arrived.
You can see the massive improvements she’s made. Although she still has a massive amount of feathers to regrow, you can see that most of the white, downy under-feathers are now covered with lovely, good condition outer feathers. Her feathers are lying properly again, her incredibly scraggy tail is looking much better, if still a little sparse, and her comb is taking on a lovely pink colour and isn’t flopping over as much.
These two will be OK, I think. We’re torn at the moment between wanting to give them plenty of cuddles and get them used to being handled, and needing to leave them alone, because re-growing feathers means it’s painful for them to be handled.
We’re not being inundated with eggs at the moment, because regrowing feathers takes a lot of protein, and they don’t have enough to lay and regrow feathers. We can wait, I’d rather see them in a great condition.
The babies, who were well used to life outdoors before they came to us are not as keen on the heat. They’re sticking to the shady end of their run for the most part, but they have started to venture out to sunbathe over the last couple of days. They’ve settled in OK too. They’re still kept separately from the bigger girls, and will be for some time, but they’re much less timid now and spend most of their time out in the run instead of the coop. Barbara is a bit camera shy, but here’s Margot to say hello
And that concludes today Tale from the Hen House 😉