Friday, 4 April 2014

Exchequer leghorn chick

At the start of January we got 6 hatching eggs for a breed of hen called exchequer leghorn. Only 3 hatched and one of these died a few days later. Of the remaining two, one developed a problem with its legs. They weren't developing properly, it was not able to stand or walk. It moved by furiously flapping its wings. It's quality of life was poor and it was half the size of the other bird so yesterday we decided it had to be put to sleep. The other chick was not free of problems either. It's neck has not developed properly. That said, it was growing well and seemed to be able to cope with life, even if it does manage to walk about with its head upside down at times.

The two chicks had been living in a brooder box along with the older quail chicks which are soon to be rehoused in an aviary (which we have not yet built) so that we can use the brooder box for 21 younger quails we hatched two weeks ago. Having disposed of the chick with the gammy legs, it was time to move the one with the gammy neck to the allotment to join the other hens. I took it over last night and put it in one of the henhouses. At the moment we don't know if it is hen or cockerel. I suspect the latter as it is growing very long tail feathers.

Gammy Neck (which is indeed the name we have given it) did not come out of the henhouse this morning. This did not surprise me as it has so far spent most of its life in a box. This afternoon, it was still inside the henhouse so I put it out onto the allotment. Gradually it increased in confidence, ate the food I put down for it (though it had to be shared with the other hens that muscled in on it) and began to wander a short distance from the henhouse.

It will be at least a couple of months yet before it is fully grown but its neck problem is not causing it any problems. We have plans to hatch more exchequer leghorn eggs if we can get some though the incubator won't be available for a couple of weeks because it has duck eggs in it at the moment.

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