The Girls

The Girls

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blinders, Broodiness, Bare Butts, and Baths

Where do I start? 

Killer (her new name is almost official) aka Dottie is currently sporting top of the line, designer, peepers.  These "Pinless Peepers" are supposed to help with feather plucking and general pecking.  I was in Boston when Travis put the peepers on Killer.  Oh how I wish I was a fly on the wall.  He said it took him a while to get them on.  He steadied her between his legs and held her little, twitchy, neck still while he put these things on.  I wonder what he was staying during this process? "Hold still Killer!"..."I swear I will eat you."

So far, the peepers MAY be preventing Dottie from pecking, but I can't be sure.  Littlefoot has taken shelter in the nesting box.  My theory is that since everyone was picking on her, she had no friends, and decided to turn broody.  That's what these chicken people (I guess I'm one of them now) call it when the hen's biological clock starts ticking and she wants to have a baby.  She sits in the nesting box all day long... on the eggs... hoping one of them will hatch.  Obviously she's had no luck since we don't have any roosters (if you want to know about this process in detail let me know...).  
Every day I have to reach under her warm body to gather the eggs.  She isn't mean about it, but acts annoyed that I've disturbed her.  I have to force her out of the coop because I'm afraid she hasn't eaten all day.  She gets up, flaps her wings, takes a HUGE poop (because she's been holding it all day), eats, sometimes she takes a dust bath, but then goes straight back to the box.  I'm going to have to research whether chickens can get depressed if they can't have babies.  Poor Littlefoot.  I feel bad for her.
At least she still takes dust baths
Since we've still got naked booties in the flock, I'm pretty sure another chicken needs these designer peepers.  But I CANNOT figure out who is doing the plucking! I know who it's not...
Dottie's naked butt... not the feather eater
Ginger's naked butt... not the feather eater
I don't think Littlefoot is doing the plucking because, let's face it, she's a wimp (I love her, but she's just too dang pretty and not tough enough - her mother must have been killed and eaten really quickly).  It's got to be big mama Scramble or Miss Bunny.  They both have beautiful fluffy rear ends.  Look at them....they are discussing whose feathers have grown back the most so they can pluck them out again. 
These chickens, I swear.  They really have issues... like people.  I can only imagine what is going to happen when it gets cold out and they want to cuddle, but won't let Littlefoot join in the huddle.  I think I might get her a soft, stuffed, toy chicken to put in her box with her.  Maybe she will think she's made a new friend.   Or I could strap a chicken diaper on her and send her home with her grandma....
See... she loves her grand-chickens

Monday, October 1, 2012

To cull or not to cull...

... that is the question.  I thought that Miss Bunny's fame would dissuade Dottie from attacking Littlefoot...that maybe she would get jealous of Miss Bunny and pick on someone her own size.  Wrong.  Dottie could care less about Miss Bunny. She has a thing for Littlefoot.   I let Dottie back in the group last week.  I really don't think separating her is going to do the trick.  I don't have a large enough flock for another bird to pick up and become the new bully.  Littfoot is pitiful, she jumped on my lap and basically begged to get out of the coop.  (Yes, I speak chicken now.)  I let her little, pecked to death, head out of the coop by herself so she could peck and play in peace.  She was grateful.  She followed me around the garden and came to me when I called her.  The worst part of this story is that tonight I found her sleeping in the nesting box, all alone.  Breaks my heart.  I think my only option is to kill (cull) Dottie.....

You must die
My poor little victim

Or!.... purchase a chicken diaper!!  I have just discovered that they make chicken diapers for hens who 1) live in the house (yes this happens) or 2) who need to come inside to recuperate from being attacked and mauled by other mean chickens. 
Random chicken from the internet with a diaper
Seriously, check it out...  Littlefoot could come in and live inside with me!  Travis would love it, I'm sure.  In case you are really curious youtube has videos of people putting diapers on their chickens.  Hilarious. 

Ok ok ok, the other option is "Pinless Peepers" (these I bought and I am awaiting their arrival). They are little chicken blinders. They block their forward vision and it is supposed to help with pecking. We'll see. Not only is Dottie getting a pinless peeper, Scramble is. 

Random chicken with some pinless peepers
Random chicken with pinless peepers

These things are really to help prevent feather picking.  As you will recall from my prior post about "crack feathers" Scramble is still in rehab for her addiction to feathers.  Yesterday I noticed that not only is Ginger's butt (and back) completely bare from Scramble eating all her feathers, DOTTIE'S butt is completely plucked! 

These chickens.  I swear.