Wednesday, 10 April 2013

A Little Chicken Worry


It's been about 6 weeks since the fateful dog attack on our chickens. The girls both recovered under the care of the Ballina Veterinary Clinic. After the stitches were removed from Breanna's side, there was a pocket of flesh that filled with dirt that the vet cleaned out and then asked me to bathe when I got home. After bathing her (and blow drying her dry) wound we dabbed on some Betadine, doused it with an antibiotic powder and then covered up the pocket with some spray on skin. I am pleased to say that that pocket has healed with some lovely new pink flesh.

But I have noticed that Breanna seems a little sad. She is last to every chook feeding and very disinterested even when she gets there. She had a lot of feather loss and most of those are growing back successfully around her neck and under her right wing. But the loss also seems to have triggered a full on feather moult from other parts of her coat. Two large tail feathers just came out when we put her down after a cuddle.

She has an all over scruffy looking appearance and looks like she has lost weight as well. Her eyes are not so bright and her comb and wattle have faded to a dull orange. She has not laid since the attack.

So yesterday I did a bit of reading about supplementing chicken's protein intake when they are moulting. I even bought some cat food and offered it to Bree but she was NOT interested whatsoever! So salmon in seafood sauce was not to her taste. 

Then I thought that I would take her to the compost heap where she could easily scratch for fat worms. But she flew straight out and refused a juicy worm I dug up for her. As a last resort I opened my vegetable patch gate and let her in to free range by herself. At last she seemed to like something and she scratched around finding little nibbles. 

I make an effort to seek her out each time I go out. I  like to pick her up and give her a scratch and a little conversation to tell her that I love her. Today she was missing from the flock and I went looking for her fearing the worst. I found her splayed out in the dust box exactly how she looked after the dog attack. I thought she was dead. Thankfully she was just bathing in the dust. I had such a heart stopping moment. I will continue to keep my eye on her in the hope that she will re-gain her condition before Winter.


I fear our Miss Washington has developed a case of bumble foot. The new chook run is full of pine cones and I read that stepping on these can injure the soft pads of the chicken's foot. I have ordered some veterinary supplies from the US but I am dreading having to operate on her feet myself. I need to give her feet a good wash to check them out a bit better.

I spent last Wednesday removing about 20 nappy bucket loads of pine cones from the run. Not an easy feat after a 1Km hill run the night before. I could barely walk let alone squat!

Thankfully Washington is back on the lay despite having to regrow tail and body feathers. I do find it funny that Wash's new feathers are brilliant white and not the dirty volcanic red colour that the old ones are tainted with. I caught her having a solo dust bath last week. She seemed annoyed that I was disturbing her privacy.


  1. Hopefully with your good care Bree will be able to bounce back. So glad to hear Washington is doing well!

  2. I love how much you love those chooks!! Maybe Breanna has just lost her mojo?

  3. Oh poor chickens! Sounds like you're nursing them back tho. Try Vetericyn on the foot. That might take care of the bumblefoot without surgery.

    I hope you'll stop by my blog when you have a chance. We share all kinds of backyard chicken keeping advice...and we're going to be giving away some of the new blue vintage-inspired Ball Canning Jars soon, so you'll want to be sure you don't miss that!

    Fresh Eggs Daily

  4. you are such a kind and good shepherd to your chickens!!!! I'll send out best wishes to poor Bree - in hopes that she comes back to herself. We once had a raccoon attack which wiped out all but one Touloise goose. After much vet care he went on to live upstate on a new farm and prospered mightily!
    How we love our beasts.

  5. Oh your poor chooks. I'm sure they're on the way up with such dedicated care.

    Why are some of your words in bold?


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