Frost and Snow

Going to start off with an update on my Silkie boy, Frost. Or Frosty the Snow Chicken, as I call him.

Yesterday, his poor eyes kept closing up and I feared that he was going to lose one or both of them if the Vetricyn didn’t have the chance to work. Got up this morning and they were both stuck shut again.

Or still. It’s hard to tell.

I gave him 2 sprays in/on each eye. One to help open them and one to help heal.

I am please to report that he’s managed to keep them open all day. Is eating fine and is giving me an acceptable amount of rooster attitude.

Those are good signs. ❤️

Frost, in his cage on our porch.
Giving me the accepted amount of attitude for a boy in a cage.

I’m betting he’s missing the coop and his flockmates right about now. Maybe not the bully rooster, but everyone else.

But then… He doesn’t know about this…

The chickens were NOT impressed. In fact, they were kind of the opposite of impressed.

Also, watching them navigate the ramp was funny.

Chicken Anniversary, Bullies and Chicks

On April 11, 2015, I became a first time chicken momma to seventeen little yellow rooster chicks, and their three little brown&yellow sisters. It’s been five years since then, and a lot has happened. I’ve seen chickens come and go, added a lot of different breeds, and watched mother hens hatch out lots of babies.

We still have one of the original flock, our beloved Double Dots, who celebrated his first birthday without his sister this year. She would have enjoyed the day. It was warm, with sunshine and new green grass. Dots enjoyed but for her.

He is starting to show his age. His crow sounds like that of a little old man. The feathers around his face seem more white (gray hair, chicken style?) than they used to be. But he still walks around the coop/run/pasture with an air of purpose band and determination.

On May 5th, the handful of Rhode Island Reds we have left from our second round flock will also turn five.

Happy birthday (belated and early) to all my birds!

It’s been a stressful week.

I’ve suspected for a while that someone (or more than one some one) has been picking on my Silkie rooster, Frost.

Frost. If you can’t tell, it looks like someone has been pulling his feathers.

Frost is a timid little guy, smaller than my other roosters and a bit of a loner. Lately, he’s been hanging out a lot by himself. I’ve wondered at it, but with my new, full time job, I haven’t had a lot of time to sit and observe what’s going on. However, with Covid-19 shutting down basically every thing, I find myself on an every other day work schedule and time to watch them.

I still couldn’t pinpoint who was picking on him, but you know how it goes… Sometimes when one does to, more if them will, too.

Frost started hiding in the duck house and I’d have to put him in at night.

And then last night, I found him there, huddled in the corner and caked with mud … and blood. Looked like he’d been mud wrestling with a bear, and lost.

I brought him inside, tucked him away in a nest and began doing a head count. At the same time, slowly looking at all the possible culprits.

Our youngest rooster, Barry, a little one my RiR Maicey hatched and raised at the end of them summer… also looked like he’d been mud wrestling, but won. I am pretty sure he did it.

The pictures I am about to show are NOT pretty. And they are very heart-breaking.

I had to bathe him, which is hard because he has very brittle feathers where he’s been trying to grow them back.

So it was more like him standing in the kitchen sink while I sprayed warm water over him to get out the mud and blood.

His eyes are swollen and I’ve been treating them with Vetricyn spray. You can tell it stings him when I spray it, but it’s necessary.

He is currently residing in a dog crate on our porch. Until his eyes are a little better, I can’t risk returning him to the flock.

The bully Barry’s days are numbered. It’s time we decided who of the 8 rooster we were sending to Freezer Camp anyway, but it’s been decided that it will happen sooner rather than later. There will be four of them leaving.

Possibly five if Frost doesn’t get better. I’m worried about those eyes, but I have faith in my Vetricyn.

And DH is building a smaller, enclosed coop, that I can possibly put Frost and some of the hens who’ve been over mated by over-enthusiastic younger rooster and need time to regrow feathers. He’s doing this emergency build right now, in the snow.

I love my DH. He is awesome on so many levels.

On a happier and more exciting note, tomorrow is Day 21 for my broody Columbian Wyandotte, Winnie and her seven little eggs. I am nervously awaiting the first signs of new peeps. I will talk more about that as it happens.

How Did I Miss This?

Aka, the post in which I admit I’m not as observant as I’d like. 

A few posts ago, back in March, I posted that I had a possible broody hen.  Our little Maicey spent more than a week debating whether or not to commit to sitting on eggs, but in the end, did not.  

One of my constant readers, however, noted in the video I posted that Maicey was limping.  

I confirmed, yes she was, but I couldn’t find an injury and after a couple days of pretending to go broody, the limp had stopped.  

Flash forward to this week.  A couple of things have been happening. 

1) Both Felix and Luke has been ‘feeling their oats’ as we say.  That is, they are hormonal young cockerels trying to steal a couple hens away from big papa Dots or big brother Pip.  

2) Luke has become fixated on Maicey, much like Pip did Riley last year.  

3) There has been a noticeable change in Maicey’s behavior.  She’s not a shy hen normally, but is now skittish, running away from all the roosters, even Dots, hiding in corners, and squeaking like a scared rabbit whenever they approach.  This is not like her at all.

I thought over-mating, and have been debating that I can’t keep all four, and which two should be the ones to leave.  

I decided to put Maicey in the dog crate I use for medical separation or broody breaking, to give her a break from the elbows and hoping that, in her absence, Luke would find someone else to fixate on.  

Later on, yesterday, I took outside for supervised exercise, and just sat watching her and watching the others.  She sat on my lap for a while.  Luke came over and made a play for her attention and I told him to go away. 

He did, and she eventually got down off my lap in her own and went to forage.  

I watched her for a long time.  And then, I noticed her limping again.  She hasn’t done it for a while, but when Dots approached and tried to wing dance for her, she squeaked and ran, well limped away.  

So I go over, pick her up, and purely by chance, my hand brushed the underside of her fluff, down by the start of her legs.  

There was something hard and dried on.  I parted the fluff, and see – much to my horror- a huge gash in her side, just above her leg.  

I’ll post a picture in a minute, but let me warn you, it’s NOT pretty.  

I have been asking myself HOW did I miss that??? Never mind how it happened – we think a rooster spur injury, and are planning for Dots and Pip to get mani-pedis soon – but literally HOW DID I NOT SEE this big an injury on a chicken I handle every day?  How?  I can’t even – I don’t have words to describe the guilt I feel over missing it. 

I immediately took her into the house, plopped her in a sink of warm water and try to clean up around it so I can see.  

There is caked on dirt and other stuff, and something that looks like an advanced stage fungal infection.  All likely.  

It smells gross, it looks grosser.  

She stood rather still and took most of my efforts at cleaning rather well.  Maicey is good girl.  I kept telling her how sorry I was and how good she was being.  She really was.  Anyone else would have pecked me, scratched or tried to get away.  

I kept up until I hit a point where the deepest dirt was.  When I touched her there, she cried they squeaky rabbit cry, and tried to get out of the sink. 

A little cleaner, but that is where it hurts her the most. 😓

 My poor Maicey Grace!!! 

My inquires on Facebook yielded the possibility that this is a spur related injury.  

I’m treating with Scarlex Oil spray, vitamin B (orally) and if she continues to have pain, I can add penicillin and baby aspirin.  

She is going to be in the dog crate for a couple of days, but I will also be taking her out for supervised exercise, so I can ensure her safety.  

And yes, the boys with spurs are getting mani-pedis soon.  

I’ve also begun checking the other hens for injuries, now that I know where to look.  So far, this is just her.  

My poor Maicey after her bath/torture.

I’m still upset over not seeing this.  How do you just not see that big an injury on an animal you see and hold every day?  Maicey is one of the favs.  My lap hen who likes to sit in my lap and get petted.  How did it go undetected this long, especially when I checked her over back in March?  

I’ll keep everyone updated on her status, and how it heals.  

And also the Boys and their mani-pedis.  

Yikes! A very Busy Week, Two Chick Week-aversaries and More!

Okay, so, the last time I actually had a spare minute to blog, it was to give you all an update on my Gold Sexlinks in Week 5, as well as to tell you all about Bud, our very special chick.

Well, it’s been a busy week for us, filled with chorus concerts, canning (I made homemade jam), eye doctors appointments, and a weekend picnic.

In short, I haven’t had time to sit down and upload pictures or write a quick post.

So… we’ll start with the Rhode Island Red chicks, who celebrated their 2-weekaversary with us on Wednesday.

Week are two weeks old and hard to catch.

They’re still adorable, but very active and hard to catch.  They’re also getting tons of feathers, running around the brooder box like crazy things, and trying to fly.  Meanwhile, in the house, there was Bud, our very special chick.

This is Bud.  This is how he looks on Tuesday, 4 days after we brought him into the house.
This is Bud. This is how he looks on Tuesday, 4 days after we brought him into the house.

Here he is, doing a fairly decent job holding his head up.
Here he is, doing a fairly decent job holding his head up.

I have to admit this, right up until Thursday, I honestly thought Bud was not going to make it.  He held his head up a little bit, to eat, but crumpled up like a ball right afterwards because it was too much effort to maintain an upright position.

Thursday saw a HUGE marked improvement in his health and overall demeanor.  He started holding his neck straighter, walking forwards more, and eating more.

Yesterday, we made the decision to bring Bud back to the rest of his brothers in the brooder box.  I was worried that they might not accept him, given that he’d been int he house for a week, and possibly smelled like human or cat.  (We have two house cats.)  But no, they didn’t even notice I’d added an extra chick.  Bud integrated easily, and this morning he’s eating and running around with them like he never left.

He still holds his head tilted to the side a little, but I haven’t seen him dragging it on the ground like last week.  What a difference a week makes!  I’m so glad we decided to wait it out and not make a rash decision.

Here we are, exploring our run.  The door is open at last.
Here we are, exploring our run. The door is open at last.

At the same time Bud was reintegrating with the rest of his flock, my DH was hard at work building the run where the Golds (now 6 weeks) will be spending some recreational time.  We’ll keep the run gated for the next two or three weeks, until they are all used to it and happily coming and going as they please.

They were hesitant at first, but gradually, they made it out in little bunches of two or three.  We’re leaving their food and water inside the coop, so they know where to come back to get it.

Later this week, I hope to set up a dirt bath area, but there is plenty of dirt and rocks, as well as green grass and flowers to explore.  Most of them seem to like it.



And here they are at six weeks:


the 6-week comparison pic
the 6-week comparison pic

Not the Red I want to see

Yesterday was a busy day in our house.  Our new Rhode Island Red chicks arrived at the post office, Little Dude was sick so he stayed home, and I made a run to the pharmacy for a refill on his allergy meds.  

In between time, we all made sever trips to the barn to check in on how the babies were settling into their new home.  While there, we all checked in with the Golds, so they didn’t feel left out any.  

DH came home from work.  He ate dinner, we went for a walk around the fields on our hill, and then went down with My Girl to see the new babies.  

DH stopped in to check on the Golds, too, because it’s been a couple of days since he saw them (work sucks).  

After his initial “wow, they’ve gotten big” he asks me to come in the coop. 

One of the boys is bleedy, he says, which brought all of us (me, My Girl and a very worried Little Dude) into the coop.  

Sure enough, one of my Rowdy Boys has a bright red blood splotch on his chest (slightly to the side, not center).  We catch him up, which was not easy because he did not want picked up and did a thorough check of his body.  

No wounds anywhere.   Only some blood on one of his talons.  

Which lead to a search of the others and coop.  More of nothing. 

We concluded that maybe he hurt his nail and scratched himself?  

I checked them all again this morning and couldn’t even find the chick with bloody feathers because he apparently groomed himself? 

Coop is secure and none of the chicks were acting hurt or sickly.  

I am honestly baffled by this point.