Bronwyn is a very good layer (like all Isa Browns) and produces really big eggs every day. Unfortunately twice she’s had a bit of a hiccup where she laid a malformed egg that had a funky shell. Make that 3 times.
The first indication that anything was amiss for this 3rd (may it please be the last) time was when Bronwyn started chewing on her belly feathers with help from Isabel. This was while I was handfeeding them their morning treat before cleaning their coop. Bronwyn looked like she had paddled across a pool before breakfast – all wet and glumpy underneath. I immediately guessed what was wrong and went down to find the malformed and very messy egg under the girls’ perch (kind of a shock to my system at 6 AM).
The egg was easy to clean up (straight into the compost) but Bronwyn was another matter.
I left her alone for a while but she just didn’t stop pulling at her messy feathers (can’t say I blame her) so Frank and I washed her. First we used a wet cloth to wipe her down; I held her, Frank washed her. We met with some initial resistance but then all she offered up was a bit of bored resignation.
The sponge bath worked partially but she was still pretty sticky so I got a tub of warm water and we dunked her. Poor thing, Frank grabbed her feet and tipped her while I whisked water under her wings and all over her underside. Again resignation – maybe she knew she needed help.
Frank towelled her off a little and then she staggered away looking undressed and a bit drunk (did we unbalance her somehow?).
She went straight to a corner of the garden and pulled her feathers some more (with a bit of help from Rosie).
We countered with a tempting kohlarbi plant to distract her. In the end, she dried off and all is right with her world. Thankfully she’s still got feathers on her bottom half which I suspect wouldn’t be the case if we hadn’t washed her. And she’s back to laying like a real trooper. You go girl!