I had hoped to sit down tonight and relax (ha!) and maybe write about the cows or the latest batch of chocolate croissants and muffins that came out of the oven. It’s been a long time since I’ve mentioned gardening and this is the time of year I usually start my preaching about it. But once again the chickens have managed to steal the show.
I was in the coop this evening doing the usual night chores and checking on the girls. We sprayed a few with Blue-Kote again the other day and it looks like there are a few tail feathers starting to grow. Yay! So there I am gathering the last of the eggs for the day, it’s well below zero outside and a balmy 40 degrees inside. All I really want to do is shut the barn door and go to the house for the night.
There’s Lola, getting pecked, pretty good too. She was even doing a little pecking on her behind. And blood.
I have mentioned plenty of times previously, blood on a chicken is a leap towards being pecked to death. I have never had a need to keep chicken bands (like chicken ankle bracelets) on hand, so naturally I didn’t have any when we initially sprayed chicken butts and found the couple birds with sizeable gashes on their sides, hidden under their wing. It would have been nice to have been able to band them so I could make sure they were continuing to heal without having to try to catch every bird again until we found the right ones. I would then know if Lola was one with a previous injury or if this is a new one.
It’s not a matter of too many birds in the coop, I do know that. For the size of the birds and the size of the coop I could easily put another ten in there without over crowding. No, this is just a very rowdy bunch for whatever reason. It doesn’t help that they haven’t been able to go outside the last couple days. That was making a noticeable difference, when the “antsy” birds where able to burn off some extra steam outside. With the temperatures so low and the lack of tail feathers there is a very good chance of frostbite. Not something I want to add to my list of things to take care of at this time. It should be noted that frostbite is very possible even when they are in the coop if it gets too cold and humid in there. So far both temperature and humidity have been in check.
As I was saying, Lola. For being injured, she was still quite a challenge to catch. With Mike gone fishing, I had to catch her on my own or sit in the house worrying about her until he got home and who knows how late that will be. Lucky for me it was night chores, so I was dressed for the day. Without the restriction of coveralls, I was able to bust out my best chicken catching moves. One time I’m glad there’s no camera in the coop. It took a great deal of effort and some fancy moves but I finally got her. (see the previous post about my chicken catching moves here.)
Now what to do with her. Everything in the feed room freezes this time of year, which means the little bit of animal first aid supplies I do have on hand are in the house not the coop.
So there I stand, freezing in the feed room, holding a chicken that is in need of an ambulance. Hmm. Ok, so she wasn’t “ambulance bad” but it’s definitely not a little wound and is in need of some serious attention. Well as luck would have it, the dog kennel I had put together for Wilma was still in the feed room. Some fresh bedding and a little hay (to keep the bedding from sticking to the wound) and in she went. Of course I couldn’t leave her in the feed room or she would surely freeze to death, as it is supposed to get even colder throughout the night. Again, lucky for Lola, I was just getting home from work and my warm car was parked outside the coop.
“Your chariot awaits my dear chicken.”
I brought the kennel inside and the little boy bends down and peeks in…Buck, buck, buck. He was so excited. I’m sure if he could he would let the world know he has a chicken in his kitchen. Instead it was time for bed.
So here we sit, together at the kitchen island. Her in her kennel, me typing away on my stool and a dog keeping watch. If only he were actually keeping watch and not trying to plot his next chicken dinner.
Her wound was given a dose of peroxide and hopefully she will begin to heal quickly. Assuming she is done pecking at herself. Tomorrow after church we will be making a stop to pick up some chicken bands and another batch of Chicken Bricks will need to be made.