Always Something with Chickens

I knew it had been too long since we had any chicken drama. They certainly know how to get themselves in trouble, even with all these dogs guarding them. They can’t help it; they are chickens.

On Saturday, I noticed that Barbara, the dark black new hen that should lay very dark eggs, was sitting a lot. Now, lots of the chickens were sitting, because it was hot. But she was sitting a lot. On Sunday, I noticed she was dragging one of her legs. Oh no, she had hurt herself in all that rain and slop. And I quickly realized the other chickens were pecking away at her and pulling out her feathers. The only good thing about that is they weren’t pecking Billie Idyl (who is fine now).

Speaking of rain, you can see how high the water got on Monday

So, I took the advice I was given and let the other new hens into the big pen a week earlier than I had planned to. That led to a lot of squawking and chasing. Eventually, everyone has come to terms with the bigger flock, though each sub-flock sticks to itself, like rival street gangs or something. If a bug shows up, though, they all go for it.

Old chickens in front, new ones in back.

After a day of rest, Barbara seemed happier and was eating and drinking, but her leg kept folding under. So, when Kathleen, etc., came back yesterday, we decided to pull a Dr. Pol. That means we have been watching a LOT of veterinarian shows on television. The three of us got together and got a splint on Barbara. My job was holding her. She was good.

Barbara in her first splint

The splint was some flexible wire, with bandages under it to cushion her leg, and wrap around it. The first one had a bent leg, as shown above. She had a hard time with it. I realized that is not how they usually hold their legs. So, we redid it more straight.

That’s better.

This makes it easier for her to lay down and rest, and she can hobble around to get to her food and water. She seems okay for now.

We’re okay, too. Thanks for asking.

My hope is that Barbara heals up and can get around soon. This morning she had obviously moved around a lot, and was standing. Good signs. I know she stands a better chance without all the pecking and trying to flee pecking. And these new ones made it 6 weeks before any accident, so not too bad.

Call me Stumpy

By the way, it’s time for all the swallows to fledge, just like the purple martins at my friend Donna’s house. We have dozens and dozens of them flying around right now, including ones who have nests around our house. This morning, I looked out the window by our stairs, and saw at least ten of them sitting on the roof.

A few of the barn swallows, seen through the screen.

Upon closer inspection, I saw it was two families, four parents and their chicks, who had just fledged. Some of those babies were figuring out how to stand on solid surfaces. It was so cute, and really made me feel better as I set out to face yet another difficult day at work.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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