Bonafide Farm

State of the bonafide birds

May 12th, 2014 § 0

Last week most of my car trips included a chirping cardboard box riding shotgun. I delivered the chicks, which hatched in March, to their new owners. The little black pullet went to an acquaintance, a Wheaten Ameraucana pullet found a new and loving home with one of my Master Gardener friends, and the four Wheaten Ameraucana cockerels sold on CraigsList within an hour. Isn’t he handsome?

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I kept two pullets. One is a pure Wheaten Ameraucana (in front below) and the other is a mystery hatched from a green egg out of a black mother! I love chickens at this age—about ten weeks—because they are sweet and curious, fully feathered but still small enough to pick up with one hand. They’re like little mini chicken pocket pets.

During the day I take the pullets out of their broody coop in the garage and put them in Tucker’s old puppy crate on the grass, and they eat their fill of clover, chickweed, whatever unfortunate bug comes along, and any grubs I unearth while digging in the garden. Last night they got to try pear for the first time.

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I am a bit sad that chick season is drawing to a close. If I could, I’d raise chickens all year long. I don’t think I will ever get tired of watching eggs turn into¬† bright-eyed, beautiful birds.

Speaking of which, Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird are busy with their brood of four in the bluebird box. It’s wonderful to be back in bluebird season.

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And finally, on a less joyful note, the feisty broody hen that hatched this latest batch of chicks wasn’t feisty enough when I returned her to the main flock. Despite holding her own for two days, on the eve of her third day back I found her with a quarter-size hole torn in the back of her skull. In her pain and panic to get away from her attackers she actually jumped into my arms from the nesting box. It’s the exact same wound Oregano sustained under similar circumstances, though this hen’s is worse.

She’s been getting daily Bactine spray and Neosporin plus Blue-Kote spray (which dyes her wound purple). I wish that I would have stitched her wound when I found it. She keeps knocking it open and it’s taking a very long time to heal, having to close from the outside in across basically her entire skull. In fact it’s larger now than it is in this photo, which I took a couple of weeks ago.

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She doesn’t act hurt and has returned to laying eggs. As long as her wound doesn’t get infected I will just keep what I am doing and let it heal itself. My experience with Cora taught me that chickens can recover from the most dramatic wounds. This little hen is protected within another dog crate within the main coop, and will be until she heals and can successfully reintegrate with the flock.

This is what she gets for successfully raising the offspring of her sister flock mates. The injustice!

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