Our sweet old girl

Flora, this morning
We got our first little flock of backyard chickens seven years ago.  We began with four chickens: Missy, Henriletta, Dora and Flora.  Now we have a flock of twelve, and Flora is the only remaining chicken from our first flock.

She has definitely slowed way down over the last year.  She rests a lot more during the day.  She has her favorite spot in the outdoor coop area, and she'll often perch herself there during the day and just rest for hours at a time.  Rather than climbing up with the other girls to roost at night, most nights she'll tuck herself into one of the nesting boxes and sleep there.  We've watched how the other chickens respond to her-- knowing that usually when a bird within the flock gets weak or sick, the other birds will begin to torment and peck at the weak bird.  But so far she's held her own as the elder of the flock.  When push comes to shove, she'll fight and put the other chickens in their place, and for the most part, they leave her alone.


Flora is our tamest chicken, and she loves being near us wherever we are.  If we walk into the coop, it is Flora who is at our heels first, clucking and still- waiting to be patted or picked up.  The other chickens might flock around us to see if we're bringing food or scraps, but if they discover there's no food; that we're there only to clean or mend the coop or refill their water, they'll scatter.  But Flora will stay near, following us around the coop, clucking as if she's talking to us.  She's a sweet old bird, and I sort of think of her as the wise old grandma of our flock.

This morning when we opened the door to the coop, Flora didn't get down off her roosting spot.  Ella was concerned so she came in to tell me.  I went out with her and encouraged her to carefully lift her off the roost.  Ella commented that "she felt funny, really skinny and bony".  When we set her in the chicken yard, she sort of flopped and struggled to walk, and I worried what the other chickens would do to her in her weak state.  She also seemed disoriented, and her eyes weren't bright.

We got Flora when Ella was five years old, and Ella loves her dearly

We decided to separate Flora from the rest of the flock for the day.  I fenced in an area of our yard that is right next to our coop, so she can still see and hear the other chickens.  (They're all jealous that she gets to be in the grassy part of our yard.)  Ella set her up with her own food and water.  She drank a bit at first and tried to eat, but couldn't.  She stumbled a bit and then righted herself and just stood in one place, looking disoriented.  It was rather strange.  We added some water to her food- (pellets), in the hopes that it might be easier for her to eat if her food was a bit soggy.  She ate really well after that. 
My concerned girls, watching over Flora
It made us wonder if perhaps she hasn't been eating the chicken food for awhile.  We know she eats scraps when we bring them in and we've seen her drink, and she forages when she's out, but maybe it's been hard for her to eat the pellets.  We'll just wait and see how she does.  She has some very attentive nurses, so I think she'll be well cared for until the end.

1 comment:

  1. I'll be praying for Flora to perk up! I know how loved she is and how hard it would be to lose her.


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