What A Difference A Week Makes
We’ve had the new rescue hens for a week now. A whole week! They’re no longer confined to their run, but have access to the whole garden. Have access to it, but haven’t yet ventured into it. None of them have dared step outside the run so far. Baby steps it is then; they’ve clearly got enough on their hands (wings?) getting used to daylight and the outdoors. Free ranging in a meadow might be a step too far at the moment!
They are laying though, mostly in the nest boxes (though we’ve found eggs around the run and under their house!). We’re not sure that they are all laying at the moment, but it’s hard to tell who is and who isn’t.
A week has made a lot of difference to their appearance though. Remember that scraggy collection of hens I showed you last week? Well, they’re still quite bare looking, though they all have evidence of new feathers growing. Their combs have improved though – they have taken on more colour and are less floppy.
Betty was the barest of them all last week:
You can see that she’s still got a bare neck, but the feathers she does have are in much better condition and she’s regrown some too. Her comb is a much better colour than before. She’s still quite nervous around us, but is getting better.
Emily was very nervous last week. She had lost all the feathers above her tail and showed signs of recent pecking injuries, with blood visible above her tail. She’s healing nicely and her feathers are looking lovely. Her comb is standing up more and has a nice colour to it.
She’s still a little nervous, but I suspect she’ll get better in time.
Amy was feisty when they arrived last week. She was arguably the one in the best condition, but will lots of room for improvement. Well, her feathers are growing back and she’s looking in much better condition.
Her comb is difficult to gauge – most of it had been pecked away in the colony cages, so there’s not much left to see. There wasn’t enough of it to flop over, so we can only go on colour, and that hasn’t changed much to be honest. Last week she pecked me a lot – every time I got within arms reach she would go on the attack. This week, she is less argumentative; I got fairly close with the camera and didn’t get pecked today. She ran away instead!
And that just leaves Jessica. Poor Jessica. We’ve been a little concerned about her, because she has a large bulge at her rear end. We’re not sure what it is at the moment, but it’s soft and doesn’t seem to be giving her any trouble.
You can see her feathers are looking much better and her comb is almost upright after being folded almost flat a week ago. It’s taken on some colour too. The bulge isn’t the end of Jessica’s woes unfortunately. We discovered during the week that she is blind in one eye. The eye is clouded over and there’s a lot of scarring around it which suggests the blindness is from a pecking injury. It explains why we were able to pick her up and cuddle her though – if we approach from her left side, she can’t see us and so doesn’t run away!
I’ll be back next week with another update.