Monday, October 21, 2013

RIP Lulu and the Frost Has Come

In hind sight, it was a warning sign that Lulu's eggs were always wonky in shape.  They generally had the overall egg shape, but they were uneven and no eggs were ever remotely the same.  We lost Lulu to Egg Yolk Peritonitis.  It's a condition that can progress fast in some cases and can often be deadly.

The day after I posted the last entry on this blog, I noticed that Lulu had bloody rump with some egg yolk dripping.  I bathed her in warm saline water to remove the yolk and blood to find that she seemed to have a prolapsed cloaca (hemorrhoid of the egg chute).  I looked up as much information as I could find on the internet and followed the emergency care instructions carefully and the cloaca stayed in.  We put her in a separate cage to protect her from possible attack from our other birds although they were not pecking on her.  One weird thing I was noticing was a farting sound frequently coming from Lulu's behind.  It almost sounded as if air she was breathing in was blowing right through her rear.  I couldn't find any info on that anywhere online. :(

The next morning, the prolapse was back and larger although we kept her dark and warm to keep her from laying (and she didn't lay an egg).  I bathed and examined her once again and that was when I noticed that I could feel a spongy chest (generally a sign that fluid buildup is taking place in the lungs), wheezing, and what seemed like a ruptured intestine hanging out next to her prolapsed cloaca.  Things were not looking good for poor Lulu.  Took her to the vet, expecting to hear the worst, and sure enough, we had to put her down.  When a hen has the egg yolk peritonitis, an egg has been broken inside the oviduct, and the yolk, having inflammatory quality out of a shell causes inflammation of the tissues, and seepage into the intestinal tract also allows for bacteria to grow rapidly in the yolk to cause toxic build up in the bloodstream,  fluid buildup ,and subsequent breathing difficulty among other things.  T_T  

Dorito seemed upset for days.  She would come running up to me and vocalize as if to demand to know where I took Lulu to.  She didn't like Fiona from the start and she would boss her around especially near the food or inside the coop.  Fiona is the first to retire when it starts to get dark, but Dorito would later go in and chase her off the roost.  Things went on like this for about 2 weeks.

Frosted mum in sunlight.
Lately though, something changed.  Fiona is finally back laying eggs regularly after molting (hens don't produce eggs during molt), and she's also looking much better with all her feathers in place.  I've noticed that Dorito was no longer pecking or threatening to peck Fiona when they get treats from me.  And they walk and run side by side (with their bodies touching even), and they both sleep on the roost now.  I think Dorito finally got over the loss of Lulu and accepted Fiona as her sister.  After all, there are only two of them now.  I feel very sad.  It will be months before chicks will become available (whether through the original web site where I purchased the first flock or at farm supply stores), and then we'll have to keep them separated until the new flock reach the same size as the older sisters.

We're experiencing a serious drop in egg production. ^^;  I wouldn't mind just looking for a layer hen or two from farms in the area, but I also terribly miss Frigglish and Coco.  They were so tame and friendly.  I miss the contact and connection.  I'm feeling more and more towards waiting till spring and get the chicks to start over.  Use the winter months to build additional space for the possible new chicks.  Fiona is finally letting me pet and eat from my hands, but I still have not held her yet. ^^;  Although both Dorito and Fiona have really warmed up to me in recent weeks.

The first killing frost came last week.  The tender plants were killed overnight.  It was an early frost for our area.  We usually don't get it until late October or beginning of November.  I am still harvesting tomatoes from the dead vines. ^^;  Some of the hardy herbs are still looking good and strong, too.  And my chickens' favorite, broccoli, still have lots of leaves to pluck and feed. ^_^

Frosted Mexican Sunflowers in morning sunlight.  

Frosted marigolds.

Strawberry leaves with frost.

It's always disheartening to see the leaves turning dark and droop after the killing frost.  I'm never prepared for the good-bye to the fresh garden vegetables.  It's always a shock to the system.  Thank goodness for the hardier plants to prolong the harvest season and soften the shock. ^^;

No comments:

Post a Comment