I am writing this post more as a record for myself than anything, so if you don't want to be depressed beyond all chickenny measure I'd advise you to leave me in my cloud of gloom and back away quickly. I really wouldn't blame you.
Doris seems to have something seriously wrong with her. But I can't work out what. She seems to have lost much of her appetite, and even treats don't really interest her. This is a massive personality change considering she would usually rugby tackle her way through a crowd to get at a tasty raisin. She has lost weight, and her breastbone feels sharp through her skin. If she had any other symptoms at all, I might know where to start treating her. But her comb is red, her tail is up, her droppings appear normal and there is no mucus flying about. I don't think she has layed for a while. I am worming the whole flock as a precautionary measure, and have added apple cider vinegar to the water in a bid to increase her appetite. Other than that, I suspect there is not a lot more I can do. To be frank, I suspect that Doris has something terminal. She is no longer screeching her head off like a baby seagull and takes herself off to bed an hour earlier than the others. At the moment, she doesn't appear to be suffering, mainly sunbathing and dozing in the daytime. Of course, she might be faking it, but somehow I don't think so.
Perhaps I'm jumping to conclusions. Maybe she has just had a bug of some kind and will recover. Anything is possible. Whatever happens, I will not let her suffer. If I suspect that she has had enough, we will go to the vet. Bet you wish you'd stopped reading now, eh? Well, there's still time to get put before you hear more. Go on, run!
In other, equally depressing news, I am beginning to wonder if Hoppy is going to make it to maturity. She is now half the size of her much more developed brother, and doesn't seem to be developing further. She is fully feathered, but spends a lot of her time cheeping loudly with her tail down and wanting to hide under Vera. She is eating and drinking, and littering around the garden with. The others. The curled toes don't seem to cause her any problems, but I'm wondering if there is something else not quite right with her. Again, it's a wait and see situation. Oh, for a crystal ball.
In sad but also happy news, Silvio has a home to go to next week. He is growing to be a beautiful cockerel, and I hope he has a long and happy life. He is going to the breeder who sold me Smudge, and Smudge is going with him. Now that Betsy and Vera are pals again, they have excluded the younger bird to the point that she's become depressed. After careful thought, and being strict with myself that I cannot get yet more housing and extra friends for Smudge, I've decided to give her back. The breeder is happy to take her, as he was reluctant to let her go in the first place. So as of Monday, I will have just three serama.
Sometimes, chicken keeping can be very disheartening.