(Santa Rosa, CA)
Epsom salt bath treatment
Lottie was a sweet, friendly bantam barred Cochin, who had just turned three when I found her dead on the coop floor last week.
She has been through so much in her short life. She’s been a tremendous trooper through it all. Evacuations are a yearly ordeal for us now due to climate change and the resulting wildfires in our area.
My original group of girls consisted of four chickens: Lottie; Lola, her gorgeous sister, a Lavender Orpington, who I lost last summer to a congenital liver disease; Isla, a prolific egg layering Sex Linked, who died just five days earlier than Lola to Mereks; and Ella, a precious Buff Brahma, who was killed by a hawk last fall when the heavy, smoke filled skies lingered for months.
That was just three weeks after the other two passed. So all three of Lottie’s mates in a three week period. So there she was left all alone without her flock. The sky still hazardous and alone. She was traumatized.
I became her big giant chicken mamma. She followed me everywhere when I ventured out with my N95 mask on. I ended up bringing her inside with me to prevent a hawk from getting her as well and to prevent her delicate respiratory system from further damage.
I also had to treat her for bumblefoot last fall, with daily epsom salt baths for several weeks. It might seem relaxing to us but Lottie unfortunately didn’t love them as much as we would.
Anyway, I soon got an 11 week old Light Brahma, Georgia, so Lottie wouldn’t be so lonely and scared. Until I got new baby chicks in the spring, which I did and who are still growing and too young to introduce to their big sisses.
Anyway....Lottie had a tough fall with the losses, the fires, her foot condition and a molt. She’d stopped laying eggs for nearly six months. But she had appeared beyond back to her usual self for the past four to five months now - laying eggs, as talkative and bouncy as ever. She seemed completely back to her usual self. Her comb looked bright red and healthy.
So finding her dead was a complete shock. I am so sad to have lost her. She was just such an amazing gal. Like a lot of small animals she too had no clue she wasn’t as big as the others. She stood her ground and held her own whenever necessary.
She was a bit of an old lady in personality. She was always the first to head into the coop every night and claim the spot she liked best. She did usually get booted out when Queen Bee, Ella showed up but she managed to deal with the upset and take it in her stride.
She was a very no nonsense sort of gal. I miss her dearly and was looking forward to her teaching her new flock mates the ropes.
I’m disappointed not to be able to see that happen.