Monday, January 31, 2011

Chicken Infirmary

   Our most spoiled chicken, Little, is an Ameraucana and gets picked on (pecked on?) by the other chickens. I feel partly responsible because Little has always been the favorite with the humans and I assume the other chickens have singled her out because of this. My wife agrees that it's my fault.

   Anyway, today we discovered a wound on Little's back where the other hens peck at her. We decided it was time to set up a chicken infirmary and separate Little from the rest of the flock for a while. Unfortunately the decision was made when we moved the chicken tractor late this afternoon, so we had to race to get it set up before dark.

   Of course, we had given our extra chicken wire to my wife's cousin for their coop, so my wife ran to the hardware store while I made preparations. We moved a wood and wire bin previously used for scrap wood to a safe spot in the yard, wrapped it with chicken netting, put in some food, water, a perch, and Little. We covered it with a solid pallet so nothing can get in (or out).

   At first Little was very anxious and kept trying to get out. We set up some boards around the side with the perch hoping that closing it in would make it feel more like the hen house and she would settle down. When that didn't work, we agreed to take Dumpling -- our other Ameraucana and probably most docile hen -- and put her in the infirmary with Little. That seemed to do the trick and once Dumpling found the food, water, and perch, they both seemed to settle in fine.

   We plan to move Dumpling back with the rest of the flock tomorrow. Hopefully Little will be okay by herself and we can keep her separated for a few days while her wound heals.

   I'll post updates as they happen.

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