…and Gloria makes two!

Hurrah! It looks like Gloria’s vacation is over as well. 2 eggs today! I thought she seemed to be crowing rather more joyously than usual this morning, and both girls took their time coming out of the coop this morning. As much as Gloria appears to be the leader of their little flock in general, she seems to let Cleo do the leading when it comes to egg laying. I guess everyone has their strengths. 🙂

two free range hens and their eggs

an egg at last

It’s nice to know they can still make them… despite the bout with sour crop and plethora of molting feathers scattered across the yard. It’s been 2.5 weeks of nothing, so I stopped bothering to clean out the nesting box every day. Luckily, she scratched some clean straw on top before she laid it. Thank you Cleo! On the small side, but perfect as usual. 🙂

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Clever Cleo

Cleo is most definitely back to normal. Yay! But we are still not getting any eggs from either hen, so now I’m thinking we are heading into a molting season. Cleo’s chest had been looking like it was losing feathers, but I thought it was merely from all of the massage I was giving her. However, she now appears to be losing some on her neck as well, and it looks like some new feathers are growing underneath. Gloria still looks normal, but I’m starting to see black and grey feathers on the lawn. They’ve also started sleeping in their nesting box again (blurg!) which they haven’t done in several months, and there were a few of Gloria’s feathers in there this morning. I hear that molting usually happens in the late summer or early fall, so that’s right on track, and that it lasts from 6-8 weeks, so I guess it’s back to grocery eggs for awhile. 😦 At least they are both happy and healthy! We did have another raccoon visitor the other day, but it was easily scared away, and Gloria is being a bit of a bully to Cleo, which is unusual. I wonder if it’s because of Cleo’s illness? She doesn’t seem to be injuring her, but she occasionally pecks at her and chases her off from a mutual food source. Any ideas about how to prevent this?

hens starting to molt

Cleo with a nice straight comb… but starting to molt.

star wars, musical instruments and sushi

What do all of these things have in common? They can all be knitted in miniature! I recently attended a family reunion, and I wanted to create little gifts for each of my nieces and nephews… things that symbolized something of interest for each of them. Some of these were inspired by other people’s projects I found on the internet, but all of the final patterns are basically original. I’m hoping I took good enough notes to someday write legible patterns I can share, but for now, here are some photos to spark your imagination. Let me know if there is one in particular that you would like to see posted as a pattern, and I can prioritize.

By the way, this is my 100th post! It’s been so fun to talk about my adventures with chickens and knitting over the past 15 months, and to get support and encouragement from so many friends around the world in return! Thank you all! 🙂

tiny knitted star wars characters: yoda, R2D2, chewbacca, C3PO, ewok

Star Wars Lineup: Yoda, R2D2, Chewbacca carrying C3PO (from The Empire Strikes Back), and an Ewok

tiny knitted R2D2

R2D2

tiny knitted Yoda

Yoda

tiny knitted Ewok

Ewok (complete with toothpick spear)

tiny knitted C3PO and R2D2

R2D2 and C3PO (limbs and head attached with snaps)

knitted C3PO in a fishnet bag (from The Empire Strikes Back)

C3PO (with limbs unsnapped) in a fishnet bag

knitted chewbacca and C3PO in a bag

Chewbacca carrying C3PO in a backpack

knitted chewbacca with sash and bag

Chewbacca (complete with sash and real bag)

knitted trombone

trombone

knitted clarinet on pendant

clarinet

knitted viola

viola

knitted shrimp sushi nigiri pendant

shrimp sushi

No more sour… hoping for sweet!

Cleo came downstairs with almost her typical energy this morning! I felt her crop and it was no longer big and squishy, but just a little larger than usual, and pretty firm. So now I’m a little worried that she’s just plain impacted. However, she seems like she has her appetite back, pecking at her food (I bought them crumbles instead of pellets yesterday, hoping that would help) and I gave her some crumbles I soaked in yogurt yesterday as well. I also added some olive oil and cider vinegar to this mixture for good measure, just in case she is still impacted. She didn’t seem to be very wild about the taste… I had to keep putting some on her beak to get her to eat it, and I missed a couple of times and smeared it on her comb, which she was also none to pleased about. But she seems to be feeling much better. Still a droopy comb, but slightly more perky tail feathers. I’m definitely hopeful that she’s going to recover, but I won’t be completely happy until she starts laying again. No eggs from either girl since last Friday! I wonder if Gloria is refusing to lay out of sympathy.  😦 And she does seem a wee bit jealous of all of the attention Cleo is getting, pecking me if she doesn’t get her fair share of petting… or perhaps out of protective feelings for Cleo as well.

hen recovering from sour crop

Cleo, with slightly perkier tail feathers, but ticked at me for the yogurt on her comb

Cleo update

I think she may be on the mend. This morning, her crop felt smaller, maybe even half the size it was yesterday. She still seems a bit weak and droopy (I’m sure she’s lost weight) but she continues to drink water and eat yogurt, and although she’s not eating solid food or grass yet (which is a good thing), she’s still roaming the yard, and I think she’s foraging for little bugs… which makes me think of the maggot solution I read about. Has anyone heard of this or tried it? Feeding them maggots to help eat through the blockage? Sounds super gross to me, but I’m open to pretty much anything right now to help her. I’m going to the feed store today, so I’ll see if they have any other ideas as well.

I think she looks a little less droopy… but definitely not as erect as Gloria:

hen with sour crop and droopy tail and comb

sour grapes about sour crop advice

Cleo is still not her usual perky self today. And the more I research sour crop treatment online, the more confused I am. Everyone, including vets, seems to be giving contradictory advice: make them vomit; don’t make them vomit, massage up; massage down, use oil; don’t use oil, use vinegar; don’t use vinegar, yogurt helps; yogurt doesn’t help, anti-fungal cures it; anti-fungal makes it worse. And then other seemingly random miracle cures like garlic, oregano, and red wine. Argh! But in reality, it’s actually making me less stressed overall, because it sounds like no matter what you do/don’t do, it tends to take a few days to clear up. Most people recommend isolating the bird for the first 24 hours, with only water to drink, but I’m not doing that. She already is not eating anything on her own, but drinking water, and I want her to be able to wander around the yard and rest under the shady bushes while she’s recovering. I’m still doing occasional gentle massages, and I fed her a tiny bit of yogurt this morning, but no more forced vomiting. At least she is still mobile, if somewhat lethargic. Hopefully we’ll see some improvement tomorrow. For now, I think we all need a bit of R&R.

hens napping with me on the hammock