21 December 2013

RIP Luna the chicken

After almost 9 months of battling with illness, Luna died yesterday. I'm still sad.
Her egg laying system was messed up from the beginning, as soon as she came into laying age the problems started. I don't think she ever laid a proper egg, instead most of them ended up as yellow gunk in her belly, eventually building up to unbearable pressure (but stragely not poisoning her, until the end). I just couldn't watch her suffering, neither could I just put and end to it, so over the last several months she was a regular patient at the vets, trying to help her or at least make her more comfortable. 
Not that the vet knew much about chickens, but she was quite wonderful about it: she made a real effort and did her research, and so did I, and we tried the few things that seem to have worked for others: Oxytocin & calcium injections to help form & pass any eggs in the pipeline, a (hideously expensive) hormone implant that was meant to stop her laying and therefore halt the problem for a few months (unfortunately, if it worked for her at all, any effects lasted 4 weeks max, on two attemtps), as well as regular syringe draining of the gunk in her belly. I also started experiementing with homeopathy but I am unexperienced and I was running out of time with this rather complex case. (For more on this read a very concise description of the condition, and treatment here.)
The only thing helped, somewhat at least, were the drainings - she seemed to get better for a few weeks after that, having at least some fun in life, roaming the field, sun bathing and digging arund in the dust. But then she would relapse again, her belly would start blowing up again and the pressure build-up would make her misetrable... everytime she would get a little worse than before. 
Yesterday it seemed like the end of the road. RIP Luna.

12 December 2013

Donkey strop

Just when you think things are settling down nicely (finally...) there comes a new stroppy episode, to make sure I don't forget that donkeys do have their own mind.
Of course, it always is my fault. I was just going out on the big field to bring them in for the night (i.e. back to the small field where they have access to a field shelter. 
Mistake no.1: I forgot the treat bag. 
Mistake no.2: a friend (= a stranger, kind of) came with me
Mistake no.3: it was getting rather dusky already
Mistake no.4: I forgot the treat bag, despite all of the above 
So Luca decided he just would not let me catch him. And Henry would not go anywhere without Luca... And I almost got into a strop myself and let them spend the night in the field.  
Then C rescued me with the treat bag full of carrots and suddenly Luca was perfectly happy to be caught, and so we all went off happily (?) on the way home. 
This photo: Lenya Bass