Monday, January 17, 2011

A Sad Day

As I mentioned in my introduction I have chickens.  I have 2 families of hens, one group that is getting to be about 3 years old and a newer family that is just turning 1 year old.  All the chickens live together in a very comfortable chicken coop.  They get along pretty well.  Sometimes there are some arguments as the pecking order is established challenged and maintained.  The newer hens just don't seem to be as hearty ad my older ones.  I have lost some of the older ones due to old age, but I have also had a few of the new one die for no apparent reason.  The new hens are also very skittish and freak out when I approach them as opposed to the older hens that like to be pet, carried around and are generally pretty affectionate ad far as chickens go.  In this newer set of chickens, there is one rooster.  This dear bird is something else.  He is a big chicken in every sense of the word, but he has moments of total stupidity and tries to attack me as I turn my back on him.  I give him an attitude adjustment and he is immediately sorry for what he did but he does not seem to remember and will get a little cocky with me again and again. 

Let me introduce my birds to you.  Here are a few of the cluckers:

In this horrible picture (forgive me it was dark out and all I had was my phone).  You can see Chip the rooster and the hens with the white tails are some of the new girls and the darker ones are the older girls.  The one eating is Fuzzy.  She is one of my favorite hens.  She is an easter-egger and lays green shell colored eggs.  She is super friendly also.

Here is another older hen.  Way up high on the top perches in the coop.  As you can see their coop is deluxe with high and low perches, window, and a wall of nest boxes.

I have more picture to post but they did not seem to make the upload from my phone.  I will re-upload them and post them later.

Anyway back to the sad day.  One of my new hens prolapsed.  If you are not current with the chicken terminology that means that her vent (the hole where the egg comes out) turned inside out some and was bleeding and drawing attention of the other birds.  The other birds would peck at her problem and make it bleed more and draw more attention to it.  A vicious circle.  I did not catch it in time but I tried to clean her up after consulting my handy dandy chicken book.  I had full intentions of saving this poor hen.  According to my book all I had to do was clean the area, tuck everything back in where it belongs and apply some over the counter Preparation H cream to the area to help things shrink back down to normal.  OK, I can do that.  I caught the skittish hen and pet her gently while talking softly to her to calm her down.  I then had to bring her into the house, flip her over and try to clean her up.  As I was cleaning her I noticed that the area that was pecked by the other birds and scabbed over and there was no saving her.  I ended up having to put her down.  I hate killing my chickens.  It would be different if they were meat chickens and what was their purpose but with laying hens death is not their purpose.  I said my apologies to her then broom-sticked her.  I wrapped her up and put her in the dumpster.  I went back in the house and cried.

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