Featured Post

I Love My Reclaimed Wood Coop

In the Fall of 2015 my husband and I made the decision to tear our back porch off the house. We had found  (during a stre...

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Chicken Learning Experience #1,387

**Warning: There are some Graphic Images below of my pecked chickens.

 So, the last couple of weeks has been an interesting learning experience in chicken keeping. I had my first heartbreak and it was completely my fault.

Of the chicks I inherited, I have four that are white. I mentioned before that I believed that they were leghorns, one female and three males (I now believe I white plymouth rocks, but that's another post). The males were getting mighty big and I'd had the chicks outside with my full grown orpingtons a few times and everyone seemed fine, so I made the huge mistake of putting the rocks in with the orpingtons in the run for a few hours and not watching them like I clearly should have been.

When I went back out the pecking had been brutal. All three of the rocks had been hit hard and the orpingtons were quickly shooed away. Two of them were hit on the back and wings and were walking about eating and drinking like normal, but the third one was seriously injured and did not survive.

So needless to say, I wrapped the two in towels and brought them into the house to be cared for and heal. I got some wound spray to help with the healing, added electrolytes to their water and started giving them medicated feed. I am unsure which worked well or if they really needed any of these, but they are doing just fine now and back in the run - properly and with protection from the orpingtons. 
This shows a portion of the current set up keeping the injured rocks from everyone, the remaining other chicks are in the setup under the coop, locked away and one of my orpingtons is in the walkway area, wondering why she can't get to them.

Below and to the left is what they looked like when I found them and got them inside. Seeing the blood was shocking for me, but they continued chowing down like normal and were drinking as well.

Below is a picture of them today. Their feathers are growing in nicely. Their behavior has not changed a bit. Excellent.

So, the point to my story is that this was quite a learning experience for me.

1. Apparently, even though I am not a vegetarian and I had considered harvesting these very chicks when they were older, I was devastated that they were picked on so badly and that one was picked to death. It bothered me tremendously knowing they were put in an environment where they were badly treated and I put them there.

2. Chickens are tough and despite looking quite plucked and smelling terrible with the injuries, they have healed quickly and nicely. They also didn't even slow down with eating and drinking.

3. 8 month old orpingtons can be jerks, but I love them. Even though I was irrationally mad at them for the evening, I am completely over it. The monsters.

4. Follow steps for introducing to your flock! This is so important! All of the chicks are in the run now, but kept from each other while they adjust to each others' presence. When the chicks get big enough, I'll start letting everyone take a closer look at each other - but with supervision.

5. I kept them in the house at first, while treating them, and that was fine for a small period of time. But as they are rocks, they are getting very large, fast, and I really wanted to get them out of the brooder, which would mean them being outside or wandering my home. So I looked into hen saddles and chicken diapers. After some sewing and trial and error, I have come to the conclusion that in this situation, they are not necessary. They have done just fine with the temperature outside and it did get down to 30 one night. The run is winterized and it's all good.

6. And as for chicken diapers - no. Just no.