One of our chickens is poorly

One of our hens is egg-bound, we think. It’s Margo, the older one – although we don’t know precisely how old she is because she came to us with Barbara via Simon the Photographer and no one seemed to know their ages. Barbara died in October after a short illness, but Margo has been laying eggs so we think she can’t be that old.

Anyway, for the past day or two, she’s spent a lot of her time in the house. She’s come out for food and she looks healthy – a good weight, a bright red comb and clear eyes – but she’s sitting indoors looking grumpy.

Whenever I open the side door to the hen house she pecks at me quite viciously with her surprisingly powerful beak. It’s now a case of four times pecked, five times shy, so I’m leaving her be overnight hoping for the best.

Like any medical stuff on the internet, the online diagnoses and advice can sound very alarming. If she is egg-bound the warning is that it can eventually be fatal if she’s unable to lay, so we don’t just want to leave her to her own devices for much longer. But given her hostility, the advice to put her in a washing up bowl with a shallow amount of warm water is a non-starter. Just trying to touch her, or offering her food, sends her into a flap and causes distress.

So, if there are any chicken experts out there who can offer some advice, do get in touch. In the meantime, I’m hoping that the other suggestion for her lack of activity – that she’s feeling broody – is the case, because that should pass in a day or so.

In non-chicken-related news, if you’re in Watford next Monday evening (March 19) and want to hear me talk about how I wrote Graham Taylor’s autobiography, come along to the meeting of the Watford Writers group, who have asked me to speak at their monthly gathering. It’s at Cassio Lodge, Oddfellows Hall, The Avenue, Watford. We'll be kicking off at 7.30pm and it's free to attend.

I will talk about how I came to be Graham’s ghostwriter, how we spent two years working together and how I completed the manuscript after he died in January 2017. There’ll also be an opportunity to ask questions.