Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Poor Little Chicken and Decision Time

This week our healing house chicken had a mishap. As if she didn't have enough problems.  Poor thing was dripping blood all over the floor. I called to Mel and while she held the hen, I checked where the blood was coming from and she cleaned off the blood. She cracked her beak on the concrete bricks by the wood stove...her favorite place to be. It was a clean, straight fracture about mid way up her beak. It wasn't cracked enough for the upper beak to come off unless struck again. We cleaned it with hydrogen peroxide and used Superglue to mend the break. We made her comfortable in her milk crate. After a few hours, she flew out of the crate and dipped her beak into her water bowl. She appears to be no worse for wear within a few days and her leg therapy continues.

We are now four weeks post predator attack with this chicken. In the coming week, we will have to make a decision on whether to cull her or continue as we are with her. A chicken as a domestic pet wasn't in either of our plans. Most homesteaders would have culled her by now, but we hesitate. Why? This is the same hen that went broody last year and hatched a chick. New Hampshire Red rarely become broody so she's an asset to our flock in future birds. The fact that she's done it once means she may do it again. She was a good mama hen too. This is her saving grace. Let's face it. If given a choice between incubating eggs and us being the mama hens, or having a hen do it as nature intended we choose the hen. None of our other hens went broody so we named this one Broody. There was some confusion in the beginning about whether this was Broody or the other short ragged crown hen, but putting her on the eggs provided the answer. Broody would tuck and reposition the eggs under her. At least she did until the eggs hurt her leg. Still she tried.

Next week, I'll try to put her out in the flock. She moves around well, but still is using her wing as a crutch. Of course we'll watch her. If she does all right during the day and isn't severely bullied, then we'll let her be. Or we might still bring her inside at night for a few days. She flies fairly well and puts herself to bed, in the milk crate, each night if we are busy doing other things. She seems to understand that her butt end is to be pointed at the towel to empty her bladder. But she is starting to wander about the breakfast room. She's not afraid of the dogs or cats, and they leave her alone. They will sniff her if she is making too much noise, as if to ask 'are you okay?' She'll peck at them and they'll leave her alone again.

If she doesn't do well outside with the flock, we have two choices left to us because she is an asset. One is build her a separate enclosed area to live which we had plans to do anyhow as a brooding/ brooder area, or two, we cull her and hope that another hen will become broody. I really wanted to see if she would raise the chicks in our incubator. So we might hold off on the culling. They are due to hatch this week. As much as I ranted about the darn, blasted, chicken on this blog. I'm actually pretty tenderhearted. It's the care giver in me. I can't stand to see an animal, either human or nonhuman, sick or in pain.

Well that's it for this week.
Y'all have a blessed day!

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