It was a long day…

I cleaned out my coop today. What a production that was. I locked the chickens out of the coop at around 12pm with their container of water and feed. I scraped out every last pine shaving with a giant snow-shovel, swept the floors, and mixed a solution of half vinegar-half water. With that I took a little scrubbing brush and wiped down the roost. I also tried getting rid of the horrible blood stains splattering the walls, but I don’t think that stuff is coming off any time soon… It looks like I converted it into a slaughter house or something. Well, maybe its not quite that bad.

I proceeded to rinse off the vinegar solution, and spray every last nook and cranny with Manna Pro Poultry Protectant. To be honest, I have no clue if it actually works or not. Its hard to tell with the chicken blogs scattered across the internet because they are constantly advertising for their sponsors. So basically I fell for their trap and purchased some at the Tractor Supply. As I was spraying, the nozzle fell off, and the bottle part went careening towards the ground. The liquid sloshed everywhere, and I lost about half of it. Ugh.

I opened every single window and aired the coop out a bit. As it dried I dragged a pallet over to the driveway and began scrubbing a waterer with the vinegar solution. I’ve been meaning to sanitize it for months, since it was the waterer Mary used when she was ill. I put it inside their coop, sparkling, along with all of the shavings and feeders, etc…

All of this took from 12pm to sunset. As the sun sank below the trees in the distance, I sat back and watched my chickens interact. The chicken saddle is continuing to work wonderfully for Cora, so I made a mental note to order one for Mabel, whose back has scraggly bald patches. That’s when I saw the gash.

Just under Mabel’s wing was a big cut, dark in color, being concealed under what little feathers she had left. If this had happened earlier this year, I would have burst into tears while thumbing through my “raising chickens manual” thing. But after all I’ve been through, this didn’t seem quite that bad. Once again, I find myself remarkably unprepared. All I have for a chicken first aid kit is Neosporin, some syringes, Tylan 50, Duramycin 10, Blu-Kote, and eye dropper and some paper towels. Since my parents didn’t particularly want to host another chicken in the basement, I had to venture out to the coop at dusk to deal with it.

Now, if you don’t remember, Mabel really doesn’t like people. “Doesn’t like” is a total understatement. She ran away for three days because she doesn’t like people.

Wanted chicken

Mabel is a free-spirit, meant to be admired from afar. These traits are rather unfortunate in this particular situation. Under the cover of darkness I crept into the coop and quickly snatched the unsuspecting bird from her spot sandwiched in between Mary and Cora on the roost. She started squawking, and struggling, kicking and flapping, all at the same time. I held on for dear life, holding her football style with her head underneath my arm. Finally she gave up, her little heart beating rapidly. I lifted her wing, and saw a mostly scabbed over wound with some dirt on it.

I syringed some warm water over it, rubbing gently. Before I could smother it with Neosporin, however, Mabel escaped from my grasp and began to systematically beat herself against the walls and windows of the coop. She knocked over my water, scattered my paper towels, and clucked in a panic to Edith, who is throwing himself against the chicken wire in an effort to rescue his hen. He clucks angrily at me, Mabel wails at me, and I am covered in dirt, pine shavings, and water.

As she continues to struggle I ask, out loud,

“What are you even trying to accomplish?”

She glares at me, and I tackle her little self as gently as possible to the coop floor. Once I have her under control I quickly cover her in Neosporin and Blu-Kote, then drop her in the pine shavings below. She fluffs up her feathers with as much dignity as she could muster, and returns to her spot on the roost.

It was a long day for both of us.

The Plan

Today, I will try and move my chickens into their new coop (which has officially been finished!!!!!)

Here is the plan…

As I write this A LOT of snow is pouring down from the sky. We’re supposed to get about nine inches. My chickens are not amused by this endless fluffy, wet substance. They’re sitting in their A-Frame, gazing out at the plummeting snowflakes. Edith hasn’t left the safety of the coop, but Mary and Cora came to see me after I returned from school. They left little bird tracks in the snow 🙂

This snow, I think, is working to my advantage. My chickens are going to be less likely to run away with all of this precipitation. Hopefully.

  • As it gets darker out (at like 4:00 pm ish) I will go outside and coax Mr. Edith out of the coop. I’m going to have to try and pick him up- this is quite daunting, because he is HUGE and usually quite grumpy. And, I haven’t picked him up since I could hold him with one hand. If he cooperates, I can continue with my plan. If not, I’ll have to rethink everything.
  • If I can grab him, I’ll carry him over to the new coop first (if I leave him where he is now, he’ll freak out when I take away his ladies). Then I’ll try and catch Cora, and bring her over to the new coop as well.
  • Now comes the hardest part. I’m going to see if I can grab Mabel, the Escapee. She is still super skittish, so I’m not sure if its going to work out. If not, I’ll wait thirty minutes for her to go to sleep, and then grab her.
  • Finally, I’ll bring Mary over. She won’t cause any problems… I don’t think.

So that’s the plan. I’ll let you know if it works or not. My fingers are crossed though. They really need insulation in this weather, and a covered run to get out of the snow.

Coop collage Cora pic Frosted glass Mary pic New coop picture