Friday, May 11, 2012

Now We've got a Chicken Hospital

This morning did not start well, friends.  See, because I'm such an awesome mom with such exhausted children, I let my big girls sleep in and went out with the two youngins (all of us in our pajamas and boots, by the way) to open the chicken coop and give them and the goats fresh food and water.

But when we got out there, something was clearly amiss.  The coop was already open! The ramp already up!  Only a few of the chickens were visible and there was all sorts of angry chicken clucking going on!  

Uh oh.
Time to go into the barn where there is a side door to the chicken coop that's used to clean that fine, fragrant bird abode to investigate.  And what we found was another chicken ON TOP of the coop.  Like 6 feet up in the air!  I grabbed her and put her into the coop via the nesting boxes and got even more worried at what I saw.  Feathers.  Tons and tons and tons of chicken feathers all in the boxes and the main part of the coop and chickens still clucking angrily and strutting around.  What the heck is going on????

At this point I'm still missing two of seven chickens.

So we (and if you're imagining this is a fast process, what with a 4 year old and a 2 year old tagging along and asking questions and trying to get into the goat pen and suggesting that we try and ride in the old baby swing we have stored in the barn, you are mistaken) then proceeded back out to their free range area to find the missing chickens and try and solve this mystery.

And we did find one.  One of our reds.  She was clearly alive, but not "normal".  One wing was all puffed out and she had hidden herself underneath a bunch of bramble so that I, in my current ginormous state, could not access her.  But at least I could count her, which was good enough for me at the moment.

Seventh chicken was still MIA.  Ugh!

Ya know, because this was not a mouse situation (which require immediate frantic phone calls to hubby), I had been trying super hard to manage this whole thing myself.  But normal chickens do not move their own ramps or go missing without explanation, amiright?  It was time for a phone call.

Oh my poor hubby.  He sure did have an adventure at 6:20 a.m. whilst we were all sleeping peacefully in our beds.  A raucous from the dogs got him out there, only to discover the inner coop door pried open, chickens in a tizzy, the injured red chicken (the one with the fluffy, weird wing under the bramble) in one corner of the barn, and a not at all alive anymore seventh chicken on the floor of the coop.  


So he gave the others some water and got things cleaned up as best he could and buried our poor deceased Yellowee on the opposite side of the barn before he left for work so that none of us would have to deal with the situation.

Did I mention 'sob'?

I felt so helpless.  This creature (a raccoon?  Probably.) is still running around, probably ready to go another chicken killing rampage as soon as the sun goes down.  But then I realized that we could probably help the injured one.   And oh, the minute I said that, my sweet Lizzy was On. The. CASE.

She grabbed an old styrofoam cooler with a lid and punched holes all over the sides and lid.  We put shavings and straw in the bottom and marched down the hill to rescue Ms. Red.  Oh yes, she sure does have a gash, the poor thing.  But she let me pick her up and set her in there and pop the top on.

Then we brought her to the workshop/laundry room/green house/chicken hospital.
The two little ones got plopped in front of Blue's Clues.
Us three girls donned latex gloves.
I held the chicken still while Lizzy cleaned her wound with a saline solution.
I held the chicken still while Katie covered her gashes in Betadine.
I held the chicken still while both girls got her food and water.
She relaxed into the straw bedding.
We put on the lid.
We heaved a sigh of relief.
We were proud.

The girls think they skipped school today, but they gave first aid to a chicken, fed her water with a dropper and food with the palms of their hands.  We watched a video about John Adams together.  One read her world history text book for next year of her own accord while the other flipped through the art & architecture book that just arrived.

Pretty good for a day off, I must say.

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  1. Oh no! Poor chickens! I sure hope that critter stays away and no further harm is done. :(

  2. Very traumatic! We have baby chicks right now. So much fun! I would have let the kids stay home from school.

  3. Poor chickens!! Keep us posted on how she does!

    BTW mentioned your wonderful blog over at my 7 Quick Takes:

    Have a great weekend!

  4. Oh my. I'd say you're all getting a good education : ) xoxo

  5. Wow - chicken adventures - who knew? I always think I want chickens, and then, in a moment of sanity and realization that we live in town and that would be frowned upon, accept that I don't, really. I don't like cleaning up people poo, let along chicken.

    Good job on the girls, and the chickens, and even keeping the little ones corralled while you figured out what was up - you'd think little ones would spook already spooked chickens even more!

  6. That is so sad for those poor chickens!!! And adorable that your daughters nursed the hurt one back to health. I am kinda jealous you have your own chickens...but then I read this story and am a little less jealous ;)

  7. When we had chickens it was always weasels.

  8. When you wrote SOB I thought you were calling the raccoon a name!

  9. Colleen-too funny!

    And I love this post-I dont love that your poor chickens were hurt. But I love your sweet girls.

  10. Oh no, poor chickens! Hope your injured one heals soon!

  11. Poor chickens!!! Although they aren't indoor or traditional pets, they are loved all the same. :-). So glad your girls are such amazing nurses ... And I'll bet Ms.Red is too. Keep us posted!

  12. I am sorry he got your chicken! (but grateful he didn't get more) That is awesome that you nursed a chicken. you should feel proud. stupid raccoons.

  13. Ugh. Hopefully, it's fox and not raccoon, since if it's fox, Tommy can whip up one of these things: and it'll deter all vermin except raccoon.
    They use them all the time around here successfully- and we see fox creeping around the yards in broad daylight.

    Raccoons, though. *shudder* those things are the worst.

    1. Dweej - we don't have raccoons in Australia but I can tell you it wasn't a fox. If it was a fox, you'd have a lot more death and destruction. From someone who's done a lot of chicken first aid, the most important thing is to give poor Ms Red some peace and quiet. The polystyrene box is a great idea as it will keep her warm and keep the noise down. Good luck and we're praying for you!

    2. Oh man. Okay. I'm figuring it was a raccoon because it had to have been something with "hands" to get that door pried open. Ugh!

      I'm glad keeping her alone in the box is the right thing to do. She is looking better already today!

  14. "Hands". Ugh - that's so creepy and such a foreign concept to us Aussies! So pleased that Ms Red is looking better and I hope she's up and pecking around soon!

  15. I'm sorry about the chicken :(, I'd probably would've cried. I hope the other one gets better soon!

  16. And this is why I don't have chickens. I don't think I could deal with all that.

    Our neighbors do though and the things are always running all over the road and in our yard. So it's LIKE we have chickens and constantly woken up to the cockle doodle doo noises etc.

    Last week we all noticed that we haven't seen the chickens in a few days. The kids and I imagined neighbor farmer ate them. But maybe something as sinister as a fox or raccoon got them. That would be horrible.

    1. I'm sorry that they let their chickens run all over the place! That seems...un-neighborly to me. Ours are enclosed and we have ZERO roosters for the purposes of no cockle doodle dooing, not just for our own peace (although it does help) but also so we don't drive anyone else nuts :)

  17. Also, if it were a fox, it is very unlikely that you (errr...Tommy) would have found the dead one. This time of year, they're pretty driven to being the kill back to their little 'uns...

    Poor Yellowee.

  18. Aw poor little chicky! Well done on the chicken first aid and hospitalization though! Hope she gets all better!

  19. what should i do if my baby chick is out of its shell too early


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