Tuesday, 6 August 2013

At 6 am I could stand it no longer the hens were banging the door of the coop, I really am dreading this, Skinny Minnie must be dead they are making such a commotion. I let the dogs out, let the cat out and with great care go and open the coop. Peeping out of the window are two hens, oh get ready for this, so I open the door and they come out, open the lid of the nesting box and .................................. she is aliveeeeeeeeeeeeee and sitting on an egg.....
The relief.
Thankfully the day was uneventful.......... sort off. I decided to clear the garden of brambles and cut back the lower branches of shrubs. Three hens and I worked away diligently as I pulled out weeds they turned over the soil. It was all very therapeutic. Until I was pulling one bramble and all of a sudden I hear a rip in my side and feel it at the same time, the pain was excruciating. I was on my knees clutching my side, three hens were looking at me wondering why I had stopped. I may have torn a muscle, I continued but couldn't bend down, or get up. Time to call it a day
Went and sewed for a few hours 

then it got worse

chooks were good all day, yes they kept hiding on me and I did find 2 eggs under an ornamental grass. I was going in to check on them and Bailey ( the golden spaniel ). I should add before you read any further both dogs are chasers and I have been very careful about keeping them away from the hens, they can see them from the other side of a lattice fence , they can stick their noses in but thats as far as they can get Until............. he managed to get in before me he ran to the chickens but stopped sniffed and decided they weren't worth bothering about, well that was until I discovered skinny Minnie was out again and had managed to get into the area where the dogs have free access of course saphy was on that side and she took off after skinny Minnie and caught her. Tail feathers everywhere

Skinny Minnie is on the right and Ruby on the left. See no tail feathers.

Skinny Minnie managed to escape back into the garden again , the commotion prompted Bailey to chase the other two, pandemonium ruled managed to get Bailey out, now by this time the cat was stalking skinny Minnie who again managed to get in under all the shrubs and nettles, brambles etc. Dogs were barking, chickens were squawking I was shouting.

Managed to get the dogs in the house, went looking for skinny Minnie poor thing has lost all her tail feathers, I picked her up and cuddled her she chattered away, her wattle and comb were quite pale . I just quietly sat with her on my lap holding her and stroking her feathers till she calmed down a little I then, put her in the coop and she settled down. contacted the girl I got the hens from and she said to give her pro biotic yoghurt and to check her for cuts. So had to go into town at 8pm and look for probiotic yogurt, couldn't find any. In all three supermarkets no probiotic yogurts, don't they know this is good for a stressed hen and I had a stressed hen.

Came home and lifted skinny Minnie out of the coop and of course she has cuts all over the place, contact Mama Hen  again and another friend who keeps chickens, mama Hen told me to bathe the wounds and put antiseptic cream and cornflour on the wound  and to separate her from the other hens,( what!!) asked her to clarify, meanwhile my friend suggested covering the wound, so I bathed her wounds with salted water, dried them to stop the other chooks from pecking the wound. Though I must say they are very good they leave her alone. (She is the loner though) stuck an antiseptic wound dressing on it!  My friend also suggested that the chicken could well be dead in the morning as it will have gone into shock.

 Went to bed at 2 am trying to figure out what I can do now to stop her getting through the fence, the other two are two plump, she is thinner.
3 am online ordered windbreak wire mesh to cover the fence from Amazon.. 3.30 am put a bid on ebay for a 16 section puppy crate each section is 3 ft x 2 ft .
4 am bed

Another sleepless night and dreading the morning.
6 am dreading this I really am


and then there were chickens

gutted traumatised

Collected 3 chickens yesterday from the chicken rescue place in Moira (The Nut House) came home settled them in gave them the run of the garden , they were eating  everything in site, clematis gone at the roots, rhubarb leaves slugs peck peck chuckle chuckle.
I went online as I was told rhubarb leaves are poisonous to hens, so out I went and deleafed all my rhubarb!!!
At 7 o'clock I made some mash potato and sweetcorn one is a little skittish and isn't so friendly keeps her distance but managed to get her and she had a share as well.
My grand daughter named two of them I named one, so please see three hens disappearing into the shrubs when they were first let out, so Skinny Minnie in front, followed by Ruby and Tiffany

Eight oclock I thought I should be thinking of getting them in and I wonder if anyone has laid an egg yet. went out and Tiffany and Ruby come running to meet me, chuckle chuckle  peck at toes. Looked round no Skinny Minnie at 8.30 I thought this is really strange I don't hear skinny Minnie  so hunted the garden, then hunted the garden for feathers not a feather in sight, (as there are feral cats and foxes around), then hunted the garden for a body. No body. OMG what am I to tell Mama Hen the lady I got the hens from. She will think I am totally irresponsible, that something got one of the chooks!!!
So gathered up the remaining two and put them in the coop for the night. They are really easy to handle , no trouble at all .
Went off into the yard and barns below no Skinny Minnie, hunted the trees incase she was roosting no sound no nothing. Every half hour I was out looking for her. Sent the dogs in to see if they could flush her out, nothing.
Went to bed at 2 o'clock worried sick about this poor hen, feeling useless that I couldn't find her I had thought they were totally safe, garden was enclosed, gates are all shut etc. didn't sleep as by now all I am worrying about is keeping the remaining two safe. 
At  6am let the cat out and dogs out, checked the coop it's still there and locked up and nothing is getting out till later.
At 8 o'clock I let Tiffany and Ruby into their coop that has a small run attached and decide they aren't getting any further until I have walked the dogs as so help me whatever took skinny Minnie will be so dead. Mentally preparing myself to find a dead chicken on the walk I headed off.
Walk out the gate and running up towards me is Skinny Minnie. I throw the dogs back in the yard, and this is where the real pantomime starts, as I run down shouting chook chook chook, towards her,  she changes her mind and runs the other way making an almighty din. So done the road I go making a wide berth and manage to get in front of her and she turns and heads back towards the house, always just out of reach, every time I bend down to pick her up , her pace quickens, all the time chattering away. Bother I forgot the dogs are loose in the front so clever me takes my coat of and decide to throw it over her.
Well the coat flutters in the air she squawks like a demon possessed and takes of zig zagging all over the place back the way we had come. Another attempted coat throw and that idea is aborted as by now she is deep in undergrowth consisting of brambles, nettles and whatever else is in there.
Eventually she gets stuck in tree branches and I get her. She is so grounded. But first I have to find out how and where she got out as I thought it was all chicken proof. such relief  and all for a chicken I have only known a few hours.
My life has just changed dramatically