White Girl One Feather

Blanche’s new Indian name!

The story of Blanche is a good one. One of the original ‘Flock of Four’ she was the only one with a fancy moniker…Blanche de la Plume (as we had called all of the others according to their colour — Murphy and Georgia BROWN; Cilla BLACK) and for the life of us we could not think of a name that went with WHITE—except for Barry and for various reasons we did not go there!

So Blanche who, as it happens, turned out to be at the bottom of the quickly established pecking order, spent most of her time being last to feed, chased by the others and generally just having to fit in. While the others all started to produce eggs, Blanche did not. Initially we thought she was just wilful, as you do, when you attribute human behaviours to our animal companions, but as it turns out, she was not wilful, she was poorly.

As she had been at the bottom of the ladder, she was quite skittish and quite hard to catch (she is a Leghorn after all) but one afternoon, when Chris was doing stuff in the garden, he managed to nab her, and to his absolute dismay, she was riddled with mites and very, very skinny. We had been dusting them as best we could for mites—individually and in their bedding, and keeping the food and water up to them, but poor Blanche was in a bad way, despite best efforts.

The next thing I knew, I was down helping fill our champagne ice tub, with warm water—ideal as a chicken bath! It was almost like she sighed with relief as she was submerged and the mites abandoned ship. All up under her wings, her feathers and down, was all gnarled and matted, so we took a pair of scissors to the matted mess, cleaned that all up, gave her another soak in  clean water and then towel dried her. The miracle is that within a week, she produced a small but beautifully formed egg. Love and attention, amply rewarded 😀

Recently she has looked a bit bedraggled, her comb flopped to one side and she started to isolate herself…and then her feathers started to fall out … don’t panic… she’s just moulting, and as with all our girls, they seem to go into this weird stasis mode when they moult. Odd.

Anyways, she has been in and out of that stage and just today, started laying again. What is a bit comical is the state of her plumage … most of her is covered in this lovely fresh new set of clean white feathers, but she has one original tail feather, hanging on for dear life. I give you—White Girl One Feather!

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