Last week I mentioned that one of our hens was attacked by a dog. This week I’m going to show you the setup we had for her, and how we cared for her.
The children were both very concerned with what happened, and wanted to inspect the hen’s wounds. I showed them the puncture marks and bare spots, and then explained how we were going to watch her inside for a few days to make sure she is okay before putting her back out with the flock.
We were very thankful we hadn’t gotten rid of our octagonal baby gate, as that was the perfect enclosure for her to still be able to move around yet be confined. Our only other readily-available option was a small cat carrier, and she wouldn’t have been able to stand up. I wouldn’t like that very much, and I’m sure she wouldn’t!
We put plastic down on the floor, then newspaper roll across the top of it. The baby gate was placed atop that, and we covered it with a large piece of cardboard to keep her in. I really disliked the cardboard part because it made it much darker in her area than it really was, so we put a lamp on the floor nearby and took the lampshade off of it (but only turned it on during daylight hours).
We made a makeshift nesting box with a produce box (one side removed) stuffed with straw, and a little makeshift roost from another produce box and a piece of wood. A small bowl with food and water was placed in there, but she was spoiled with fresh produce (more than usual, mostly because she didn’t have to share it or fight over it).
The kids asked about why we cleaned the wounds (a little soap and water, then spraying with an anti-fungal/anti-bacterial spray called Blu-kote), so we mentioned germs and explained how we want to keep them out of the wounds so she doesn’t get sick. They got to watch her eat and just her general behaviours a lot more while she was inside (for obvious reasons), and got to observe our cats in full predator mode, too. (It was tricky keeping them out of the room!)
We assumed she was going to be fine when she was eating and drinking like normal that evening, but decided it was a pretty safe bet when she laid an egg for us. If you’re curious, no… it wasn’t in the makeshift nesting box. She determined that it was of inferior quality and instantly kicked all the straw out of it and across the enclosure, and laid her egg on the floor. I tried.
We put her back outside in the fenced (but open) part of the yard that is just for the chickens, and then let the other chickens out, and scattered a bit of scratch grains for them. We were worried they might pick on her while she was injured, but they all went right back to normal immediately. Well, except the fact one of them has naked spots!
TO BE CONTINUED