There’s a chook in the meadow, what am I going to do? Celebrate …

Another week, another update on the rescue chooks. If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, here are links to the posts about our latest batch of rescue hens. Here. And here. Last week I showed you the improvements made by Betty, Jessica, Emily and Amy and explained that although we’d opened up their run to allow them to free range, they still hadn’t left their run.

I also told you about our concerns over Jessica. Her blindness doesn’t seem to be bothering her at all. We got some advice from those who rescued the hens and they believe that Jessica’s bulge is nothing to worry about and is well within the normal range for ex-batt hens. It comes from intensive egg laying. That’s a huge relief, especially as 5-year-old PK has adopted Jessica as his own.

So this week, all four have left the run to explore the great outdoors. However, they haven’t made great adventurers, having chosen not to leave the yard all week and steadfastly ignoring the garden/meadow that awaits them. They have managed to take themselves back to the run and put themselves to bed each evening though.

They’ve also started to lay more frequency and we now think all four are laying. There has been the odd issue with shell quality – some leathery, some thin, some completely soft, most absolutely fine. A number of things can cause these shell issues, such as stress, poor diet, coming to the end of their laying life, just coming into lay. None of our girls should be at the end of their laying ability, and they’re not new to laying, so I imagine the issues are down to the poor conditions they lived in and the stress of being moved from there to their new home, via a stop at collection points. The shell issues seem to be decreasing, so hopefully their new life is improving the quality of their shells.

Today, we couldn’t wait any longer and this morning, when we let opened the run, we picked them up and put them on the grass. And they haven’t come off it since. They are pottering around looking very busy and important. They’ve got a tough schedule of exploring new textures, eating new things, exploring all the space – and that’s before they’ve worked out that they can dig for worms and sunbathe and give themselves a dust bath.

I couldn’t get close up photos of each of them today, because they were too busy to stop for a photo shoot but I did get some lovely pics of them in the meadow. And you can see how well they are looking now – feathers regrowing, better condition feathers, and their combs! Their combs are so much brighter than last week and are standing upright now. Even Amy, who barely has a comb but wasn’t showing much improvement in colour, has a healthy looking comb now.

I’m really pleased with how well they are settling in and how much they are improving. Back next week with another update!

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