Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mean Girls in Action

It's been a sick week over here at my house.  Tuesday evening I climbed out of bed to go gather eggs and water the chickens.  Horror. There was one laying on her side. Chickens do not ever lay on their sides.  She looked bad.  I took a hand full of water and tried to pour it over her beak.  As I did my chores she struggled up and hobbled a few steps and fell back down.  I put a handful of grain right by her. 

Then I witnessed the most horrible thing.  The other girls we're pecking her.  One would run in the coop, peck at her, and I'd shrew her off. Then it would happen again with a different chicken.  I don't know what happened earlier in the day to get this started, but it was obvious they were kicking her while she was down.  

It was the barnyard mentality in action. It was sickening.

I looked around to see if I could somehow isolate her. There were outdoor lounge chairs. I have extra chicken wire in the shed.  It was more energy than I could muster and I went back to bed.  Ron returned an hour later and I went out and told him I had a problem. By now she's lost (a kind term since this happens by another chicken standing on you with their claw feet shredding your back) half of her feathers and is bleeding in a couple places.  It was so sad.  "I wish I knew where Kruger's old crate was at, I could put her in that."  Ron knew right where it was.

It was windy outside, and I certainly wouldn't want to sit out there trying to get better in the wind, so I decided to put her in the house.  I put the crate in the unfinished laundry room. Put a handful of alfalfa in the bottom and a dish of water. Then I went out and scooped her up off the floor of the coop and put her in the crate. She just looked up at me, still laying on her side and panting.  Back to bed I went.  My last thought of the evening was "I certainly hope she's not dead in the morning, i better have Ron check on her."

Wednesday morning, still in a NyQuil-induced fog, I heard this awful squawking.  And it didn't end.  What was going on?  Finally I remembered the chicken.  In the laundry room. And my dog.  I called to Kruger. he came running and laid down next to me and I fell back asleep relieved, "she made it through the night."  Overall this little lady has been quiet the last couple of days. On Wednesday she was back in the upright position. I decided maybe she would prefer a roost, so looking around, I just grabbed the push broom and put the handle thru the crate.  Sure enough when I peeked in at sundown, she was sitting on it.

Today her sores have mostly healed, and little downy new feathers are showing up.  I will probably keep her in here a few more days.

But that barnyard mentality. That's scary stuff to think about.  Remember this the next time somebody talks about in an emergency situation people behaving like animals.
I hope you have a crate in an unfinished laundry room to go hide out in.