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Diana's Desginer Hens

March 19, 2009

Hello Chicken Lovers. Many chicken adventures have occurred since the last posting. When we last visited the Green Coop, the chickens were whining about the snow. Since then we have had chicken medical emergencies, floods, and herding practice! Throughout the winter the girls have continued laying, egg count ranging from 4 eggs a day at the lowest the first of February, to now laying 10-11 eggs a day again! The eggs are now big! The girls will be a year old April 15th, so are about full grown. They are really getting gorgeous, as you can see from this head shot of Ruby, one of the Americaunas.

In January, Freckles, one of the Speckled Sussex, injured her foot. She was sitting in the yard with her feathers all fluffed up when we went down one morning, looking out of sorts. When we examined her, we could tell it was in her left leg, but we couldn't figure out if it was a joint or what! Of course, as with the dogs, it was Sunday morning. So we gathered her up and brought her up to the spare bedroom, put her in a dog crate with her own heater, and watched her until Monday morning. It is not easy finding a chicken vet!!!! When we finally tracked down a vet that sees birds, we really hit the jackpot. We found a great man that diagnosed her as having a sprained tendon in one of her toes. We learned that foot problems are common with chickens and he gave us good information about what to look for in the future. The treatment was a topical anti-inflammatory called DMSO, which I had used on horses back in the day! Four additional days of rest and treatment, and Freckles was back with the flock. She has a bit of a gimp, but it doesn't slow her down at all!!

The next chicken event was the flood. As you can see, this year we had more water than any winter since we moved here in 2001. The water came up to the middle of the parking lot at the arena, which some of you found out when it flooded while you were in class and you had to wade to your cars! But the chicken house stayed high and dry, and the girls in their covered yard had no worries other than how much cracked corn we were going to give them the next time we walked by!!

With the help of Reilly, the girls continue their adventures out and about for day trips. Now that they are older, we have introduced Mazzi the cattle dog and Boomer the aussie to the chickens on the outside! Boomer was especially interested in helping Reilly keep the chickens gathered up. He comes from serious herding dog stock, and it really came out.

The girls have been very well socialized around the dogs, and have pecked noses that poke through their fence more than once, so have no fear of the dogs. When Doug put Boomer on a sit stay, two of the girls took the opportunity to make sure they told him he wasn't all that big a deal! You can see from Boomers face, he wants out of there!!

Well, that's the news for right now. More updates to come as the girls continue on life's journey!


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