You may remember that we took Gyoza to the vet a while back because she suddenly started limping very badly. Nothing appeared to be wrong.
A little bit later we noticed that she was bleeding on the other leg. We caught her and had a look. Nothing seemed to be wrong. The other chickens also noticed that her leg was bleeding and started to peck at her. This did not help matters. Gyoza started nestling down, out of the way, in amongst the brambles and nettles.
One day recently I went down to check the next boxes and found Gyoza in the chook house with blood running everywhere. So we fetched the little hutch we bought when she and Dim Sim and the ducks were but chicklings. We moved the wire run which had been around the duck house and attached it to the little house and isolated Gyoza so her leg would have a chance to heal without being pecked by the other hens.
The ducks were a bit puzzled by this - but they never actually used the run and (as far as I am aware) are still sleeping in their house.
Gyoza's leg stopped bleeding.
We were just about to release her back into the micro-flock when her leg started bleeding again. We we had a proper investigation and found that there's some sort of growth on it. I'm sorry, but I'm not taking her back to the vet. Apart from her leg she seems to be fit and well and happy, except that she doesn't want to live in a run any more. And you can see her point. So we've decided to isolate her semi-permanently from the rest of the flock. We've going to bring her hutch and run up to the little lawn by the pond and put her up there. We'll keep her in the run for a few days until she learns where her new bed is and then we'll let her out during the day. This means that she will have the run of the whole flower and vegetable garden. Queen of all she surveys!
In the meantime I have decided that I will do an autumn cut back of the flower garden. The Under Gardener has reminded me that weeds that we don't want to put on the compost heap can mostly go in the orchard where the chooks and ducks will deal with them. And I can still leave some of the plants which have seed heads on them unchopped for the garden birds. It also means that I can plant some spring bulbs in the places where the weeds have been dug out. Gyoza can help with the process, once we let her out of the run into the garden!
We must remember, though, to make sure we shut her run with her inside it at night. The orchard is as fox proof as it is possible for it to be (which is to say that a very, very determined fox could get in but probably wouldn't bother when there are other, easier targets close at hand). The garden isn't fox proof at all, but a closed up run will act as something of a deterrent