More sad chicken news to report. Willow Chicken – always Top Hen – stopped laying a couple of months ago, so I’ve been expecting a downward turn. She suddenly looked very unhappy last week, with a very swollen abdomen, and knowing she was not going to get better, a fellow poultry-keeper very kindly Did The Deed for me. Willow is the fourth bird out of four to get what I (and the vet) believe is egg yolk peritonitis. Bred to lay, lay, lay, breeders aren’t really interested in longevity in the birds they produce. Willow was only three, and until two months ago laid an egg virtually every day. Too much for any system to take.
I now have four leaderless ex-batts. There was a bit of squabbling for top position, but that was quickly sorted out. All is not normal however. They are now avoiding the nest box and laying their eggs under the hedge, and two have become very noisy and broody. I hope things will settle down to a new normal soon.