This post is not for the weak of stomach. You know who you are. What is seen cannot be unseen.
Those of you who follow Heedley’ Hens Facebook Page will know that I was very worried about Haley last night at bedtime. While all of 1.0 and 2.0 were panting and holding out their wings at roost time, Haley was exhibiting more serious symptoms. More serious, even then the heavy, feather-footed Brahmas, who generally suffer first and most.
She’d made her way up onto the roosts; her wings were out from her body, but not tucked up. like the other girls. Her wingtips were hanging down to past her feet. Her eyes were closed. She wasn’t panting like the other girls; her beak was closed, but her chest was heaving with the effort of breathing.
I tried to bring her closer to the fan, and to get her to drink, as the other girls were all doing, but she struggled away from me. I began to be truly concerned when a trickle of watery yolk and egg came from her vent. I’m no expert, but this looked bad.
Haley hasn’t laid a proper egg in a very long time. She has been laying these monstrous egg-like messes, with no shell, sometimes in a nesting box, more often, on the floor somewhere. You can catch up here.
I have to assume that what ever she’s going through inside was making it harder for her to bear the heat than her sisters. I wasn’t sure she was going to make it through the night, and went to bed prepared to let Mother Nature do what she had to do. Our chickens are more livestock than pets.
When I opened up the run this morning, I held my breath. Haley came out with Hermione, looking herself. She began to pasture as soon as she got out, but something didn’t seem right. She stayed very close to the run, letting her sisters fan out without her, and she just seemed…off.
She’s more with it now, but I found this on the barn floor:
You were warned.
This is as substantial as Haley’s eggs get these days. There is a rubbery outer coating, almost like the white of a poached egg, and some liquid in the center. The dark patch, which just looks like fecal matter in real life, looks much more sinister magnified.