One warm July day, back in 2012, we drove all the way to Stafford to collect three POL hens. They were a new hybrid breed called Fenton Rose, from the same breeder who developed the Fenton Blue. They lay the same blue-green eggs as a Fenton Blue but are pale apricot in colour, with a little crest and floppy comb like a Cream Legbar. They are a beautiful hen, with a calm inquisitive nature. We took Honeybun, Goldilocks (named because her crest was the same colour as her feathers) and Amber (her crest was largely white) home with us and put them into our separate house and run for a few days quarantine before introducing them to the main flock. Amber and Goldilocks settled in quickly, enjoyed exploring and ate voraciously. Honeybun, on the other hand, refused to eat and spent most of her time searching, and crying, for another hen. I think we must have inadvertently separated her from a friend, but there was nothing we could do about it, just hope that she would eventually accept the situation. But she didn’t. She mourned the loss, she wouldn’t eat, eventually she refused to drink, and despite a visit to the vet (who found nothing wrong with her) and attempts to force feed her, she declined and died three weeks after we had collected her.
But Amber and Goldilocks went from strength to strength and integrated well into the flock. Amber laid pale brown eggs (only 80% of the breed will produce blue eggs) and Goldilocks laid blue eggs until late last year when they both stopped laying and did not resume this spring. Both have had problems with mild cases of peritonitis, treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories; both recovered well from their problems. But Amber seemed to suffer a recurrence this April, and became very lethargic. Some more drugs and a lot of tender loving care seemed to do the trick, and she recovered her appetite and her zest for life.
It was on Friday afternoon that I noticed she had become rather dozy again, and started her on the drug regime once more, but on Saturday morning she did not come out of the henhouse for her breakfast, and was showing signs of not being able to see. We put her on the grass in the sunshine and she wandered around rather aimlessly, then just sat and went to sleep. We gave her lots of cuddles, but her prospects did not look good, and I was not really surprised (although very upset) to find the next morning that she had died during the night.
Amber was a little hen with a lot of personality. Since Hetty died in December last year she had become Betty’s companion, and Betty has been very upset losing yet another friend in such a short space of time.
RIP Amber, born early 2012, died 24 May 2015.