Thursday, June 5, 2014
The Perils of Chicken Parenting
If you're reading this thinking, "Another fricken chicken post?" I apologize. You know how sometimes when people have babies, that becomes one of their top topics of conversation? That's me. With chickens. On this blog. I promise it won't last forever.
Last week, we moved our baby girls into their coop full-time. It was sad that first night not to hear their peeping coming from the pen in the living room. When we went out to lock them in their coop for the night, we had to encourage them to get up on their perch (apparently that's where grown chickens sleep) and I pretty much wanted to grab a blanket and pillow and hunker down in there with them to make sure they were okay until morning.
But by night #2, they were putting themselves to bed when it got dark and had already snuggled up with each other on their perch when we went to close the door to their run. It almost brought a tear to my eye. Such grown-up little girls.
All was well in chickenland until Sunday afternoon when we went out to the run to say hello and found our sweet Samantha puffed up in her coop with one eye closed. Like any good new parent, I immediately panicked. We brought her in the house and set up a quarantine station to watch her. As I furiously scoured the Internet for a diagnosis, I came across one too many stories that ended with "and then we woke up and the entire flock was dead." Seriously. Don't look up chicken stories on the Internet.
Of course I wanted to call the home-visit vet, but Mr. W (the more rational one in this operation) insisted we just try washing out her eye with some saline and seeing that made her perk up. He wrapped her in a kitchen towel (and yes, we called her the chicken burrito) and held her in his lap while I carefully dripped saline drops in her affected eye. There were no signs of any other issues (respiratory problems are common with chickens), so by evening we decided to put her back outside with her sisters.
She was acting completely normal by bedtime and the eye was bright and open. She's been fine ever since.
And we've told her siblings that the next one to kick dirt in someone's eyes loses worm privileges for a week.