Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Little Red Hen

by June

It was a chicken emergency. Blossom and Fern noticed one of our Rhode Island Reds, sweet Maple, was twisting her neck in a funny way. She would stand still for a long time. She wasn't acting like the other two-month-old chicks.

They whisked Maple into the house and examined her on the front porch. Her baby-size comb looked good, but her eyes were rimmed in red. And her crop was hard. Out came the chicken guides. Off we went to Backyard Chickens.com.

The diagnosis: She might be crop-bound. Maybe her crop was so hard because she had been eating long grass.

The remedy: A drink of warm water and a massage.


Fern put the warm water in a syringe and let the little hen drink her fill. Blossom gently rubbed Maple's crop. Maple made some funny noises and anointed the newspaper with some very grassy (and wet) poop. And soon she made happy-chicken noises and settled down into a nice nap.


Thank goodness, she's been happily eating beetles and ticks ever since. Once again, though, it reminds us how fragile our little flock is. We can play the radio to keep the fox away (thanks, Emma and Grace, for that great tip!). We can rush out every morning with fresh water and food. We can let them be free to stretch and scratch and run. We can keep the chicks separated from the grown flock until the little ones are less susceptible to disease. We can entertain them with rides on our shoulders (and hair buns). But nature is still nature.

Blossom with Rosie in her hair


27 comments:

Toni said...

Oh thank goodness you were able to help her!

What a cute photo of Blossom with Rosie! That's a keeper!

The Hip Homemaker said...

I don't know what I would do with a sick chicken. There would be much googling involved, I'm sure. Glad she is okay!

Camie | Red Gate Gardens said...

Way to go girls! I've not had a crop-bound chicken (yet) but now I know what to do if I do - thanks!

PS: May I link to your blog on my blog? I would be honoured...

June said...

Toni: We were so relieved! We lost the girls' favorite hen this spring, and we are still feeling fragile. I love the moment between Blossom and her Rosie. Glad you enjoyed too!

Hip Homemaker: Googling is always involved. Just like with parenting!

Camie: Love swapping stories over the Internet fence. We're all better off chatting back and forth about our gardens and chickens and children and... If you want to put us on your blog, it would be OUR honor. We love your blog!!! Thank you!

Homehum said...

I'm glad that you were able to rescue Maple in time and get her crop moving.

Love the picture of Blossome with Rosie on her head!

You make me long for country life. Sigh.

Beegirl said...

Crop-bound? What a fantastic chicken emergency assessment (I am going to have to look it up). I love the emergency medication administration. Thank goodness no mouth-to-beak was required. I just watched 'The History of Chickens', thanks to you and Camie. Think I am going to have to post it and a thank you to you both on my blog for the recommended watch. It was wonderful!!

Rosie and Blossom are priceless!

Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

Hmmm I'm partial to Rhode Island Reds, I wonder why??? lol. I'm glad Maple is ok. I was just reading about a chicken being crop bound in a great book I highly recommend called Farm City by Novella Armstrong. Glad your clucker is doing well.

vuejardin said...

Poor little hen, hope she is doing well. I love the last photo, you've capture a wonderful movement of Blossom and Rosie!

June said...

Homehum: It was a relief! But you have a nice life too!

Beegirl: No mouth-to-beak! But I wouldn't put it past these girls of ours. Glad you liked the PBS doc. It is a favorite here!

Lisa: Can't wait to check out that book. Thanks for the recommendation!

VueJardin: It was a nice moment between a girl and her chicken!

Thanks to all of you for stopping by. Our chats with you make us all smile.

underthebigbluesky said...

i read this at work Friday but didn't get a chance to comment.

how lucky to grow up with chickens on your head!

this is what scares me about starting a brood. i don't think i'd be able to be as mindful as you are. maybe when the indoor pets move on.

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