5th Jan 2008
I have two hens. They were about 2 years old when I got them and Daisy bullied Bella by eating her feathers. I had to put a ring in her beak which stopped most of it.
2nd Feb 2008
They have discovered the cat flap and can't understand why the cat can come and go as he pleases but they can't. He has a magnetic collar which releases the catch. They peck at the door quite hard.
29th feb 2008
Both have started laying their eggs in a coil of hose pipe in the greenhouse. It is warmer in there than in the nest box. We got 28 eggs this month. 23 in January, mostly from Daisy.
Daisy is much better tempered and has stopped bullying Bella over the last few weeks.
I put 2 golf balls in the nest box and they have started to use it again.
May 26th 2008
Daisy was drinking a great deal of water a few weeks ago and was clearly very unwell. I had to end her life, sadly. I think that the reason why she stopped bullying Bella was because she did not feel well enough.
I now have a Goldline which I bought on May 31st. She is a beautiful little bird of about 20 weeks old. I have called her Ginger as she is ginger in colour. Bella is very upset at Ginger's intrusion into her territory so I have to keep them separate.
Bella and Ginger get on much better. I gradually allowed them more time together under supervision and did not let them fight. I still would not let them sleep together in the coop as I don't know what would happen between dawn and 8am when I let them out. Bella was very bad tempered today and her comb went purple.
18th August 2008
I got a new little Goldline 2 weeks ago today. She is about 19 weeks old now and laid her first egg this morning. Bella and Ginger now sleep together in the coop and get on perfectly well. The new one is called Cynthia and she gets on with Ginger but not with Bella. Cynth has to sleep in a separate crate until it is safe to put them together.
Bella was not feeling well about 6 weeks ago. She stopped laying, was not eating much and doing small green poops. Once she did a yellow one which worried me. I hand fed her for a short while and she started to eat again and looked more lively. A couple of weeks later she started to lose her feathers and I realised that she was moulting. I did not know that moulting made them feel so bad as this is my first experience of moulting. She has lots of new feathers coming. One odd thing though...she now walks in a strange way. She keeps her body close to the ground. Perhaps she feels vulnerable because of her missing feathers?
November 21st 2008
I opened the coop today and the hens ran out as usual. Ginger sped up the garden to the rabbit hutch to lay her egg as she always does..but when I opened the big doors I saw two eggs! One was large and brown and the other smaller and paler. So Bella has started laying again after nearly 11 weeks off. Her comb was much redder today and she has been noisier for a couple of weeks. She started squatting a week ago. This was a nice suprise.
October 8th 2009
Bella is over 4 years old and looks like a pensioner. She is moulting again and her comb is tiny and pale purple. If she were human I would say that she looks like she is 80 years old. She has lots of nearly bald patches with tiny new feathers coming up. She even looked a little confused today as she tried to get out of the greenhouse but could not find the door. The other two are moulting but still laying nearly every day.
December 25th 2009
Bella's feathers are lovely now. She is getting slower and not so easy to entice with food. The other two rush up and gobble up any treats, but she just can't be bothered. She is well and happy enough, just an old lady now. She does occasionally gallop down the garden when she wants to, (so she can still run when she feels like it,) with her wings open to stop her from falling over. I got two eggs today from the other two.
March 12th 2010
My dear old hen, Bella, died this afternoon at 4.5 years of age. She had been running around the garden all afternoon, eating well and enjoying the sun, so I was surprised to find her lying on her side at 5pm when I went out to put them in their pen. She died half an hour later. She had been showing her age lately with a ‘where’s my zimmer?’ look about her, so I think she must have had a heart attack or stroke. At least she did not suffer for long. I am thankful for all the eggs she gave me during the 2.5 years that I had her. She was one of my first hens, so I won‘t forget her. I will plant her under my apple tree so she will continue to be productive even in her death. The poor old soul had such lovely feathers even in her last months, in fact better than when she was young. I will miss her.
I have only one hen left now. Ginger. She stopped laying at the end of 2009. She seems happy enough on her own. The last time I had only 1 hen I got two more but the old hen made such a fuss that I had to keep them seperate for months before they could be left together safely. I shall keep Ginger on her own until her demise.
As for my other life away from chickens, I am a Christadelphian. I read my Bible daily.
please have a look at www.christadelphianals.org/booklets.htm and www.glasgowkelvin.org.uk/planner/index.html for further information. I also recommend that those interested in the Bible download an e-bible from www.e-sword.net .This is not a Christadelphian web-site, but I have found it most useful in Bible study.