It was another hot day when we got home from work and one of the ladies was getting picked on. On closer look she was panting with her mouth hanging open and walking funny…like a penguin!
We quickly went into medical mode trying to figure out what was wrong and what we needed to do to help her. We quickly put some vitamin/probiotic water down her throat with a dropper thinking she was dehydrated. Then we dunked her in a tub of cold water. That seemed to cool her down and relax her. Finally, we put her into a cage in the cool barn covering with towels to let her rest.
Then we hit the books and the web. We decided she most likely had what they call being Egg Bound. An egg gets stuck in the chicken causing a lot of body stress and can result in death. This girl lays some very large eggs so we suspect that between the heat and a very large egg that this just might be the case here. We followed all the recommendations including holding the chicken’s rear end in warm water to relax her and hold moisture.
It worked! She finally laid that egg after 36 hours and then got back on schedule. Unfortunately she is still walking like a penguin. Not as bad, and getting a little better each day, but still not right. We think that extra large egg may have been too big and injured her back or something. We’ll just keep her comfortable and take good care of her until she recovers.
Watch Penguin Girl walk on the ladies YouTube channel:
The girls survives a 10 minute storm that included quarter sized hail! They were smart enough to run into the coop before they got smacked with it. It must have really scared them because they hardly laid any eggs that day. It took them a few days to get back to normal.
Unfortunately the crops were not so lucky. As we were pulling out damaged produce we found a number veggies that were dinged up but not in terrible shape. This was our first year growing acorn squash and the girls had never had it so I thought I would share it with them instead of tossing it into the compost pile. It was a big hit!
It started with 2 halves but they went after it so fast I knew I needed to add more. They are not great at sharing. Six halves seem to be the magic number. Just enough to share without a lot of chaos.
What the girls eating acorn squash on their YouTube Channel:
Just like high school the chicken run is a competitive place. And are there popular girls? You bet! The Buff Orpingtons are the biggest, fluffiest and unfortunately the Meanest girls on the block.
Every morning they hog the biggest table in the run. They are so big once they get 6 of them on the table they start to push each other off. The other girls stay out of their way. If they get to close to a buff they get a little peck from one of them. Even amongst themselves you will see them pecking at each other to keep the order. You will see it in the video.
While having a mix of chickens makes the coop look fun, it’s clear that just like high school, if you don’t look like the girls on the top of the food chain you are going to get beat up!
So what’s the plan? As our girls become too old to lay eggs we will start adding Rhode Island Reds and have them eventually take over the coop. Why Rhode Island Reds? They are one of the first breeds used in America and are considered a Heritage chicken. They are all around hardy birds that lay more eggs than our Buffs. And if they all look alike, hopefully they won’t feel the need to pull each others tail feathers.