Chickens are very good at hiding illnesses, so it’s always a bit of a surprise if one of them is obviously under the weather. They are prey animals and it doesn’t do them any good to appear weak, so they fluff themselves up and put a brave face on it. As a chicken keeper this is deeply unhelpful because it makes it really easy to overlook a problem.
However, it is hard to miss a large bluebell hen hobbling round the garden and sitting down whenever possible. As with human ailments, it’s probably a mistake to take to the internet too soon, where you are bombarded with possible ailments – anything from being egg-bound to having bumblefoot. However, a quick examination revealed nothing – apart from the fact that there’s nothing wrong with her ability to peck (I really wish I hadn’t had my sleeves rolled up). My conclusion is that she’s got the chicken equivalent of a sprain… possibly from jumping down off the higher perch in their house – her preferred roost. Apparently this can be an issue with heavier birds, and Anna is certainly one of those (bluebells are huge).
My remedy, therefore, is to remove said perch and make sure that she is able to access plenty of food and fresh water. Once Mr Snail returns home later today we will examine her for wounds under the masses of feathers (bluebells are also very fluffy). She’s being doing plenty of sitting down, so I don’t think enforced cage rest is necessary, but we’ll see how she gets on over the next couple of days… fingers crossed for a speedy recovery.