So, here are some more photos and about how they progressed 2-3 months after we bought them home.
We still only have the 4 hens at this point, Mel, Crispy, Chicken 11 and Terri.
Here is the lovely Chicken 11. She is so sweet but still very scared of everything!
She now, however, has the confidence to let me take a closer photo of her.
You can see her comb has shrunk and is a lot redder now. When she first came it was almost white and covered her right eye! Poor little thing.
She still has a long way to go on the feather growth, but she’s looking a lot healthier!
Here is Terri. She still only has her downy under feathers on her chest, and is still missing the top feathers on her wings.
She’s very friendly and seems pretty confident around us now.
All of them will take food from your hand now and are all quite happy to be handled.
You can see Terri’s comb and face are pretty red and a nice size now.
She’s put on weight and is gaining condition nicely.
Here is Chicken 11 again with Crispy stood next to her.
Chicken 11 took a lot longer than the others before she’d come into our house. As you can see here though, she’s made herself at home by the back door.
I put a towel down for them to sit on as they’re not house trained! I’m still working on that……
Here is Mel. Super confident and very much at home.
I think she really wished she was a cat at this point. Everytime the door was open, she’d walk in. She would quite happily waltz into the lounge and plonk herself down on the carpet. Cheeky thing!
I had to stop them coming into the lounge however, chicken poop is quite hard to clean off of carpet!
You can see that this lady has no fear. It’s really something when an animal totally accepts you like this. I love this birdie!
Here are the girls enjoying one of their new found favorite foods, natural yoghurt!
It’s actually quite good for them to have some now and again, as it helps to maintain the health of their crop (food pouch).
Chicken 11 is at the front, then Crispy and that’s Mel’s bottom in the back!
It had been raining, the girls have already expressed their displeasure at heavy rain….
It was really lovely to watch these girls turn back into hens again, as before they came here, they were mere machines.
At the end of the 3rd month, October, Terri developed a bumblefoot. This is an infection on the underside of the foot.
Starts off with a bit of lameness, accompanied with some heat and a little swelling, maybe some redness… if there is a serious infection, you may have a mini abscess on the foot which will burst. If this happens, there will be an open sore, most likely producing pus.
We noticed that Terri was a bit ‘off’ and had a slight limp on morning. (this is why it is important to watch your hens when you let them out in the morning) I checked her foot and couldn’t really see much, so I watched her for a day and waited till the next morning to see how she was.
The next morning, she was no better and the swelling was more apparent. I also noticed a tiny scratch on the sole of her foot. Immediately I bathed it with some cooled, boiled water with salt in.
I decided that as there was an open wound (albeit small) to bring her into the house, as she was really quite lame on it by now.
We set up a travel cot in the lounge and put a cat box in there for a place to hide. I lined the floor of the cot with newspaper and put a water and food dish out for her.
She seemed pretty happy with her new ‘house’.
I bathed the foot at least 3 times a day and used antbacterial hand cleaner to keep the foot clean. I did try bandaging the foot, but that is easier said than done on a chicken…..
She stayed in the house for 4 days, till all traces of heat and swelling had gone.
Here is Mel visiting Terri in her ‘sick bed’. We thought Terri might get lonely, so we let Mel come and visit her.
Also we were worried that the others might forget her and we’d then have trouble integrating her back into the ‘flock’.
The blue is a plastic sheet that we put down instead of the newspaper…. hens poo a lot!
Anyone thinking of doing this with their hen, should be aware that they aren’t the most fragrant of animals…. our house stunk, despite cleaning her out lots and lots everyday!
Terri happily made a full recovery from this…. no abscess ever developed and I think we caught it really early…
I checked all the perches and sanded them down, as this injury is commonly caused by splinters on perches…. I think though, she may have stood on a stick or something, because all the perches were fine.
If your hen gets a ‘bumblefoot’ be careful. I have experience dealing with animal injuries at work with horses and I’ve always had pets. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, then take your hen to the vet. She may need antibiotics.
In this case however, it was just a case of reducing heat and swelling and keeping the small wound clean.
When we let Terri out again, bearing in mind she’d been in for 4 days, the others did give her a little bit of a hard time…. but hens need to assert themselves into ‘their places’ and you have to let them get on with it.
I’ll talk about hen integration in another post, as Ginger (one of our newer hens) was a nightmare and will be a better example of that!
Now then, is our girls first autumn! They’re all doing really well and eating lots!!
In the next post I’ll talk about how their first winter went. I’ve got lots of hens in the snow pictures!
Thanks for reading.