I mentioned in my Jan 20 post the passing of Gimpie. She and the Ameraucana were the two elders in the flock. The Ameraucana observed a period of mourning and then began associating with the flock at a wary distance, cautious always of the rooster who had dispatched her comrade. She is over 5 years old and in her waning years and at feeding time she is driven away by the younger hens, some of whom are her offspring. So much so that I have a routine for her at evening time to eat separated by the interior partition door, which I open afterwards so she can rejoin the flock on the roost.
A few days ago she appeared very sluggish, we saw her in the nest box (to escape the rooster we thought) and then slumped in a corner of the paddock. I thought her end was nigh, M. thought it was time for an espsom salts bath. I protested, M. insisted, and there we were me holding the Ameraucana in the bath and M. circulating the warm water around her limbs, her deteriorating feathers, and scaly wrinkled skin. This was followed by olive oil treatment of the legs – the idea is that the oil suffocates residing mites. A bedraggled Ameraucana barely ate her food that evening and we separated her from the flock for the night (perhaps her last).
Next morning, M. thinking the bath had been the final straw and “done her in” kept a close watch on the Ameracauna’s activities and then she came in, eyes ablaze, to announce the Ameracauna had laid an egg. Now the Ameracauna was transformed, no longer sluggish and collapsed but wandering around with the flock as she used to do.
M. informs me that magnesium salts relax muscles and that the Ameracauna was egg bound (couldn’t push out the egg) and the spa bath did the trick. And I for once, have little to say.