August 10th, 2011


My Little Red Hen Has Been Having a Lousy Couple of Days

Monday, when I got home from work, I noticed that Phoenix was huddled up in a corner of the run looking unhappy. Teckla and Norska were both out in her general vicinity, ignoring her entirely and not harassing her in any way. Neither of these things is normal.

Upon picking Phoenix up for investigation and snuggling, I noticed that my hands were bloody. Well, that at least told me what sort of injury to look for, and some first clues about where on the chicken it might be.... Somehow or other, she tore off a claw (ouch). Since the other chickens weren't being super-obnoxious about it, I let her stay in with them, and she perked up and got more active later in the evening. I'll keep an eye on it in case it gets infected, but it looks like it should be fine eventually. Still, poor girl.

This morning, I let the dog out on the porch while I was feeding the chickens. The chickens decided it was a good morning to make a break for it, and dodged around me as I was coming in to take off across the yard. "Oh boy!" said the dog. "Running chickens! I'll follow this red one!"

No chickens were harmed, but I'm sure a lolloping 80-pound predator is not a happy sight for a bird to get in the rear-view mirror.

I tell you, if something's going to go wrong it's going to happen to Phoenix. A month or two ago she managed to take a divot out of her beak somehow. For a while there it looked like I was going to need to clip off the remaining side bit before it got overgrown and started interfering with pecking, but she managed to wear it off evenly without any intervention from me.

On the plus side, she's started laying. Her first egg, Monday, was a gorgeous dark brown with light speckles, a bit bigger than Dragon's first few tries here. Today, there were definitely two new-layer eggs, and one's brown so I think it's hers, but it's so light that I almost wonder whether Dragon laid twice (unlikely, but possible).

I've been getting a lot of broken eggs lately, and it occurred to me today that perhaps, now that the junior chickens are laying, they will stop pulling hay out of the nestbox and it can stay and perform its useful padding function. So now the box is lovely and hay-filled once more, and we will just see about this jostling the big eggs around so much that they break.