Tag Archives: backyard poultry

Lesson 1300 – This one is unbearable

I don’t even know how to begin this one.

Let me start by saying this has been the most horrible summer we’ve had since we started having chickens 6 years ago. It’s been brutal. I seriously haven’t shed so many tears for our flock as I have in the last few days.

You know that our flock was attacked the other night, all 3 of this year’s chicks were killed and a hen from last year’s chicks was seriously wounded (she’s still alive and being cared for.)

Before that attack, our hen Rudd was almost decapitated by a predator. There is only one animal that attacks its prey by decapitating it, and that’s a fisher.

Which is why I wasn’t sure if a fisher had actually attacked our flock the other night. Sure 3 were dead but there were no visible signs of attack.

But yesterday I finally figured out what was going on. Our neighbor came over and as he stood at our front door he told me that one of our chickens was in his back yard.

I thought it was odd he was telling me this for two reasons: Continue reading

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Lesson 1299 – Wrapping toes around fingers

(I guess there was some confusion on my post yesterday, when I called this chicken our lone survivor, I meant she was the lone survivor of the 4 who were attacked. We still have 18 other chickens in our flock, it’s just that most of the young members are now gone.)

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As you can see our chicken is still alive but make no mistake, she is still in serious condition. Very serious condition.

Her legs are getting stronger and she can hold the weight of her body up when braced. But if I let go of the support, she topples. I’ve learned to prop her up against a wall of the rabbit hutch at night because when she tips over, she can’t get back up. It’s almost as if all sense of body balance has been taken from her.

There are a few other things going on as well.

Even though I go out several times a day to move her and try and get her to use her feet, she is still sitting – in the same position for long periods of time. Yesterday I heard a little whistle in her breathing (to be fair I did not hear it this morning.) Just like a human patient, you have to move air or it stagnates. And stagnation equals a problem.

She is eating, drinking and still pooping wet waste (which means she’s hydrated) – that’s all good. Continue reading

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Lesson 1298 – Lone attack survivor

Our lone survivor of the hen house attack is doing better. That first night when I retrieved her from under the hen house, she was thoroughly terrorized. Chickens that have been attacked tend to go into a kind of chicken-shock – those are the ones that you sometimes find the next morning dead from a heart attack. They are literally scared to death.

My chicken couldn’t move her legs and I thought it very likely that she might have some spinal damage. It didn’t look good but she was breathing and there didn’t appear to be any bleeding so I put her on bedding with some water nearby and waited to see how she would be in the morning.

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What I have found with chickens that have been severely injured, is if they make it through the first night, then they usually have a fairly good chance at recovery.

She made it through the first night. Continue reading

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Lesson 1297 – Attack in the hen house

It’s a horrible sound, that of a flock in panic – at night. I rushed outside to see what was up and with the help of my tiny LED flashlight (always kept on the fridge with a magnet for quick use), I saw that I was too late.

Something had gotten into the henhouse.

A sight all chicken owners hate to see.

A sight all chicken owners hate to see.

All 3 of this year’s chicks (now adolescents) were dead.

One of last years’ chicks was greatly injured (we thought she was dead until Spencer saw her trying to breathe.) She’s currently receiving Chick-ICU treatment. Last night I wasn’t sure she would make this, this morning she’s doing better but she can’t walk. Not sure if that is due to an injury or shock. I’ll be keeping an eye on her.

I’m sick. Just sick. You know that expression about how easy it is to shoot sitting ducks? Well when *something* attacks from within the hen house (and we have no idea what is was but our local fisher cat comes to mind), there is no place to go. The chickens get picked off one by one.

And the babies, who knew the least, were the ones who suffered the most. Continue reading

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Lesson 1296 – Broody Rudd

Remember Rudd (pronounced Rude)? Our splash marans that was attacked by a fisher cat and who almost had her head pulled off?

Well although she has fully recovered from her injuries, these days, she’s giving us new troubles. Our free range chickens had figured out that their favorite place to lay eggs is under the blackberry brambles (“brambled eggs” – not going to miss the opportunity to say that this time) It turns out that Rudd has gone broody on us and she’s decided that sitting on the eggs under the brambles is the place she ought to be. Continue reading

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Lesson 1294 – Updates on the flock and some gorgeous flowers

I know that I’ve been a little absent from this blog lately, but man have we been busy!

A few updates on the flock:

Lately, we’ve been hit with some very hot days here in New Hampshire. I’m not worried about the flock; chickens know how to cool themselves down. They’ll take dirt baths and naps in the shade. It’s a lazy life of staying cool.

Nope, not dead, just cooling off.

Nope, not dead, just cooling off.

I know some people who give their chickens fruit infused ice water and while this is a lovely thought (heck, *I’d* like to drink that!) when it’s hot, even when it’s scorching hot, all you really need to do is make sure your flock has constant access to plain old water. Chickens like kids, will drink when they are thirsty and won’t when they’re not.

Our chickens free range during the day so I don’t have to worry about circulation. If you keep your chickens in the coop during the hot days, just make sure that they have some kind of ventilation. A screened window, a fenced-in yard, and even a screened gap near the roof all work.

Pippin (our dog who is as much a member of the flock as the chickens are) recently had a tooth abscess that sent him (and me) to the vets at 4 am early last week. After a few days of antibiotics, he went in for oral surgery and this itty-bitty dog ended up getting 12 teeth pulled. (I know, YIKES!)

After he came home, we were tempted to change his name to Gumby but Pippin it remains. (Although we can’t help but laugh at how he keeps trying to find his missing teeth by feeling around his mouth with his tongue.)

After a few days of misery, my good boy Pippin has returned to being his old self. My writing buddy is back where he belongs in his (it used to be mine) comfy chair right near my desk. Writing is always easier with a dog by your side.

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And then this past week, we ate at a restaurant that had vases with beautiful flowers on each table. Here’s the one that was on our table. Enjoy.

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And lastly, I realized *after* the fact that I had missed the perfect title for this post – it should have been “Brambled Eggs.” Of course it should have been! Oh well, next time.

 

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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Lesson 1293 – Eggs and brambles

Lucky us. We’ve found yet another outside nest where the chickens are laying their eggs.

Unfortunately it’s in the middle of blackberry brambles and you literally take your life in your hands when you go out to collect them. This is the price one pays for having free range chickens, you’ve got to work for the eggs.

Emma, who is the champion egg-picker-upper for our family, has figured out a system. She takes the hiking staff I’ve had since college (which has gone with me on many adventures) and holds the brambles aside while she tries to gather the eggs into the basket with her free hand. She’s discovered that you have to be quick, a little flexible, and of good balance. The time she fell into the prickers was not her finest moment.

I know that Emma’s method is mostly effective because every day we have new eggs to eat or give away. Continue reading

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Lesson 1273 – Rudd update

I know that many of you are concerned about Rudd. Here is a picture of her taken just this morning. Her neck wound is dry and it looks like the skin is starting to close up a bit. Her comb had turned grey after the attack and it is now starting to pink up. My magic 8 ball says that all signs point to success.

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However, although Ruud continues to eat and drink, she’s lost a little weight and she still remains very quiet. She stays outside during the day protected by a “playpen” here we make sure she has plenty to eat and we continue to take her in at night. Continue reading

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Lesson 1272 – Staying low for a bit

I was going to write something witty about chickens today, but first thing this morning, I went in for a long-overdue root canal on one of my back molars.

Yeah, things are a little sore right now (can you say kicked by a mule?) Continue reading

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Lesson 1271 – A grand adventure

When you decide to free range, this is what you get.

A daily Easter Egg hunt.

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Continue reading

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