I have been very reluctant to write my next blog as over the past few weeks I have had chicken trouble again and lost another. Helga the one in the foreground of my last picture started with the same sort of symptoms as the others a couple of weeks ago. I left her for a little while and then as she wasn’t improving ferried her off as before to the vets. This time the vet didn’t give me anything for her she just suggested that there might be an underlying bacterial infection in the brood or living area. She suggested a few very pricey options and then a more sensible one which involved ordering a faeces sample kit from a website called ‘the chicken vet’. I took poor old Helga back to her friends and ordered the kit. I was feeling very fed up with chicken keeping and guilty as we seemed to be causing this problem with our chickens when others around us had no problems and hadn’t lost any chickens. Poor old Helga just stopped eating which in itself caused problems as I wasn’t going to be able to take a sample at this rate. Eventually I had to make the decision to take her back to the vets and have her put down as she was so weak. We are therefore now down to only four chickens and I will not be getting any more as I am not sure that chicken keeping is a hobby I want to continue with. Anyway I am waiting for the results of the tests now from the remaining ‘healthy chickens’ to see what we might be able to do. I have also sent a long letter with the samples to explain our routine just in case they spot something that we do which might affect them. In the meantime we continue to harvest lots of fantastic crops and the garage and freezer are filling up nicely. My favourite at the moment are my pumpkins. I wasn’t sure at first as my first attempt to cook them didn’t work but this time I cut them up small and roasted them in the oven with olive oil and chilli flakes. Yummy, they have a lovely sweet flowery texture and as they are much smaller than the ones I grew last year are far more practical.