Firstly, this post has two inquiries, the first one being MUCH more important than the latter, but I really didn't want to make two different posts about all this. FIRST INQUIRY - potential emergency? Please help? I rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome chickens and offer chicken training services. One woman who has adopted chickens from me keeps in very, very close contact with me - close enough that my chickens go out for play-dates to her house. We've been doing this for well over a year now, and since all but one of her chickens came from my flock to begin with and keep in frequent contact with one another, the need for quarantine is moot. However, our most recent play-date had to be cancelled due to one of her pullets developing what she describes as a "barking cough". She expresses that the pullet, Caramel, does NOT cough all the time, but over the past few days it's become every-so-slowly slightly more noticeable. Caramel is reported to be eating and drinking well, active, energetic, and all around behaving perfectly normally save for said cough. The cough is described as sounding like a "guttural bark" or "yap", but it's so short and abrupt that it's hard to catch her in the process of coughing. One concern of Caramel's owner is that the three girls don't have much to do with each other. They don't snuggle up together at night or anything, and though they HAD been sleeping indoors for a good part of the winter, as days have become longer, and their owner has had to stay out later for work, the girls have been putting themselves to bed in a tiny coop ( it's not INSULATED by any stretch, but precautions have been taken to keep it from being drafty ) at night, but they're still forced to be outside. What could this coughing be? What are some treatments some might suggest for it? MY birds have NOT been exposed to Caramel, even remotely, so it's not a worry for me, and the three chickens that my friend has are an Easter-Egger, to the best of MY guessing an American-Serama mutt of some sort ( she is TINY - not much bigger than a cockatiel ), and then Caramel who dwarfs the two bantams, being a standard-size herself, who's 1/2 Ameraucana, 1/8 barred Plymouth Rock, 3/8 Rhode Island Red ( her father's mother is a Blackstar ). She has the Ameraucana muffs and beard, and the VERY poofy and insulated Ameraucana feathering, with pea comb, but yellow legs and beak, and a VERY Red colouration. She is clean-legged. I don't have any photos of Caramel, herself, but she looks pretty much like her siblings, save colouration. [link] <-- Here's her siblings, Lightning ( the cockerel ), and Quincy ( pullet ). Quincy and Lightning have been separated from their sister for several weeks now. I'd guess... at LEAST a few weeks before Thanksgiving. Neither sibling show any symptoms remotely similar to Caramel's current condition. [link] <-- This is Quincy right up close to the camera, and Lightning snuggled against me so you all can see just how INSULATED these guys are! [link] <-- The black one is Pepper, the buff-white one is Marshmallow, and these are Caramel's flock-mates. Both are a little over a year or a year-and-a-half old. Keep in mind Marshmallow's the one that's about the size of a cockatiel. I've added this picture for the sole purpose that everyone reading this knows what the WHOLE FLOCK looks like. INQUIRY TWO - absolutely not urgent, just curious My rooster, Bo, who's two-and-a-half years old has recently taken a strong interest in his two girl's daily intake of eggshell. Whenever I bring out the eggshell, the girls come running, and so does he. The girls are WILD and absolutely ECSTATIC about the eggshell, and pull it out of the yoghurt container that I've converted into an eggshell waste recycling container, and toss it all around. Then Bo comes up right with them, keeping his place between them. He curiously pushes his head into the container and pulls out some eggshell. Not NEARLY as energetic or "into" the activity as the girls, but he still participates. He pulls some out, drops it on the ground, toss it around before eating a little. He never eats MUCH, but other than the TWO girls I have laying, he's the only chicken I have that shows interest in eggshells. I'm just curious if anyone else has had a shell-curious rooster. My banty rooster has no interest in the eggshell ritual at all, and my herm-chicken ( she's closing in on two years old this spring, and hasn't developed any female sex characteristics so far as cloacal or hip development, but also shows no signs of male sex characteristics so far as comb size, feather pointiness or shininess, spurs... she's simply the softest chicken in the world, and a wonderful snuggler ) is also completely uninterested, and hangs out with the little man most of the time. Bo DOES NOT sing or dance while playing with the eggshell, so it's not like his usual antics with food and trying to attract a female's attention. He seems to simply play with it, in a similar manner as the girls do, but much less vigorously.