Monday, January 2, 2012

Chicken Drama

A week after the chickens were traumatized by a hawk, there was another attack in the chicken coop.  Our dogs learned they they could open the coop door by clawing at the clasp. Normally the door is locked, but recently it wasn't.

We thought the chickens were safe from predators in their coop, but we hadn't realized the dogs new trick. One day Eric looked out the window and he starts screaming, "Shadow has a chicken!" He was on the phone, so I ran outside. I started yelling Shadow's name before I was even in the backyard. Both dogs came running towards me. The chicken that was in Shadow's mouth also came running into my arms.

I carried the bitten chicken into the house for a closer look. The dogs happily followed behind me. There were a few feathers missing and some exposed flesh on the chicken, but nothing looked serious. Another chicken had similar injuries under one wing. The rest of the chickens were safely hidden in a lumber pile. I made sure that all chickens were safely locked in the coop.

A few weeks after this awful incident, I noticed that a chicken was moving around the coop...even after I put fresh food down. I picked her out of the coop and realized she was having trouble walking and was squirting out watery poo.

After a little online research, I realized she wasn't getting enough food because she was still hurt from the dog attack. I made a temporary home inside our house for our injured chicken. Since she wasn't walking around, I hand-fed her and put water within reach. She was eager to eat and enjoyed human company.

We know that chickens are social birds, so I spent a lot of time talking to her and Eric brought in other chickens for a visit. The hurt chicken was pooping normal within a day, standing within two days, preening within three days, and walking within four days. She came to greet us whenever we brought food. 

By the eighth day, the now healed chicken was back outside with the other five chickens. I know that reintroducing a chicken can have problems, so I waited for any bullying. One other chicken picked a fight, but our healed and healthy chicken stood her ground and no one else bothered her. I'm so happy that our chicken was able to get better because I feel awful that it was our dog that hurt accident that didn't have to happen. I will continue to watch our chicken and make sure she continues to heal

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