I guess it’s the same with any new creature (pet!) – you need to learn about it and adapt your behaviour to theirs. Why wasn’t it the same when we had cats? I guess because I’d had cats as a child so knew what to expect from them – not a lot, they’re in control!
In general, cats come in, eat food, sleep, go out, hunt, come in, eat food, sleep all on an endless cycle. They’re only demanding when they want food and then they try every trick in the book to trip you up or annoy you so much that you feed them just to shut them up. Yes, we have one cat who likes to talk – Jingles. He is constantly ‘talking’ to us. As endearing as it can be – it’s also very annoying and at times pitiful. Actually, I have to be careful talking about the cats – they’re officially my daughters and so she’s very protective of them and shields any negative comments. We love them really!
Anyway, back to cat’s health – in general they’re robust creatures. Bar a visit to get a leg gash repaired and monthly flea treatments they’re pretty healthy and they come and go on their own terms.
Chickens, however, worry me. Maybe it’s because they’re relatively new to the household or because I can’t ask a neighbour what to do if I have issues or maybe it’s just because they’re prey animals and so hide illnesses until it’s too late. Whichever it is, it’s made me hypersensitive to the slightest change in behaviour.
Cho, is our biggest and youngest bird and our prettiest (oh, I feel harsh saying that – you’re not supposed to have favourites!). After Tonk’s demise I’m especially wary of anything Cho does out of the ordinary. Afterall Luna and Ginny have been around longer and Ginny has made it through some illnesses so they’ve shown their toughness.
Cho has had some fleeting moments of inactivity which always sets me worrying. Maybe as a heavier bird she likes to take it easier and rest at little, rather than the relentless scratching and foraging of her comrades. Maybe as a more select hybrid she has a more delicate constitution? She has had a couple of phases of laying soft eggs, this will usually last for 4-5 days and then she gets her rhythm back. As a bigger bird, does she need more grit in her diet? I try to make it available constantly, although find it hard to keep in the bowl as the chickens do like to step on their food bowls and tip everything all over the floor (good job they like to forage!) Cho’s inactivity definitely coincides with her producing soft-shelled eggs, so her body must be telling her to sit and take it easy until it’s produced. I imagine it’s a wierd feeling to pass something soft through your system when you’re used to moving hard objects. It’s just always un-nerving and gives me a restless night of worry.
As with Tonk’s death, I’ll never know all the answers. I can only observe, search, research and deal with what I see. I just wish I didn’t have to have the worry to go with it.