Hen Spa Treatment

Who would of ever thought that a chicken would like taking a bath… a good long soaking bath???  Well, they do 😉  I guess with “Spring Cleaning” in Spring, it should only be normal for me to give each of my girls a “Hen Spa Treatment.”  If I had more hours in a day and these spring temperatures would act more like Spring, I could get all my ladies done in one day!

So I take the task on….I made sure the water temp was just right (not too hot, but more then tepid).  I put white vinegar in the water with dawn soap and massaged her legs and vent area to get off all the yucky stuff.  Changed the water out and just added Epson salt to the water.  I moved the water up and over her entire body (avoiding the very top of her head and eyes),  I then noticed that at the base of her tail it looked very dirty… remembering that this is normal ~ I removed some, but not all the grime.  This area at the tail base is where an oil gland is located.

My baby girl was so relaxed from the warm water she fell asleep and didn’t have a care in the world (don’t leave unattended, there head could fall below water). She trusted me to handle her 🙂 another bonding moment.

I changed water out again for a good rinse and had a towel ready… she was like a bowl of jello.  She snuggled in my arms as I walked her up to the bathroom where I had a small space heater working, I shut us both in the bathroom (avoid a drafty area) and gently (she didn’t have her chicken legs) placed her on the floor.  She couldn’t walk if she wanted to… I helped her preen – LOL, it just seemed like the natural thing to do 🙂

When she was almost dry I put a diaper on her so that she could walk around the house. We are still using the wood burning stove, and the temperature in my house is 74 degrees. When she was really dry I moved her to the garage which is somewhat cooler before moving her back to the coop with outside temps at a steady 40 degrees during the day.

She loved it and it gave me a chance to check her out from top to bottom. As one chicken owner to another (if you have a small flock its much easier) we should all periodically check our chicks over to make sure nothing is amiss. We don’t have to give them the “Spa Treatment”, but a once over every month or so ~ certainly keeps us in the loop to whats going on with our hens.

Happy Spring Everyone !!!


Chicks are now pullets and cockerels at 7 weeks!

My small little clutch of eggs that were hatched out by the most unlikely hen, have reach a ripe age of 7 weeks yesterday!

Mother hen threw up her wings at 5 1/2 weeks…  What a trooper she is!  In all honesty, the chicks were starting to get really big. Three out of the five are Roosters!!!  I’m so disappointed, I knew that I had 1 cockerel (and I was okay with that since loosing my big boy Franky), and now I will have two cockerels to re-home.  I so wish I could trust them to get along, but we all know that’s not possible.

This morning I watched Mother hen peeking in on her pullets and cockerels, but not wanting to say hello… She wants to keep them in a pecking order according to her rank.  The other day I had them all out together (older hens and young ones) and she was the only one pecking them on the head. Mother hens can be mean.

My next difficult decision will be .. which Roo to keep!  I already have an opinion on the Easter Egger / RIR mix …I think too aggressive of Rooster for me!  I don’t need wimpy, but would like to walk across the lawn and not have to worry :). After reading up on these two as a cross, I’m a bit skeptical. This young Roo is already trying out his vocals and pushing his weight around!!!  The only plus to keeping him over one of the others are his comb and wattles at maturity (Egger has pea comb and little to no wattles).  Winters are tough here in Catskill Mountains – that would mean less frost bite to worry about. The other crosses are a Buff / RIR and a Barred Rock or a Black Sex Link (I don’t know since I find genetics so difficult), both cockerels are beautiful ~ I will have to see how their personalities develop.

I have the next few months (Sept through early Nov) to integrate them into the flock.  I have split the coop in half (they can be seen by the older hens) and will let them out separately and together under supervision.  I was able to pull it off without a hitch two summers ago when introducing 8 new pullets to 5 hens and a Rooster.  This time I’m expecting 13 hens to give 2 pullets and a young cockerel the business.

I hope to come out of this unscathed… or I should say, the new additions unscathed 🙂

My first Broody Hen

I can’t believe it!!!!  I checked on my girls about 5pm last night and noticed my Buff Orphington (CC) was acting very strangely.   I didn’t pay much attention to it and closed them up as usual for the night.  This morning I noticed all came out of the coop for their morning breakfast but CC (short for cupcake).  I opened the nest box door and noticed she was right where I left her last night.  I picked her up to find that she had NO feathers on her breast bone or belly!  Here we go!!!  Now my head is spinning ….

I don’t want baby chicks!  I don’t have the room in the run for them (my coop can fit 30, but not my run).  What do I do?!?!  Of course I know I can try and brake her of this “natural thing” that comes over her, but that’s too mean – she wants to be a mommy hen.  I took her out and put her down for some food and water.  She clucked the entire time under her breath.  I know sooner turn around, and she’s back in the coop sitting on another hens egg.  That’s it.. I feel horrible!  I started putting all the girls eggs one by one under her.  She is now sitting on 8 beautiful eggs.

My fiancé made me (without even asking) a maternity ward in the garage for her.  So this evening I will move her to a safe spot for the next month or so.  I wont lie… I’m very nervous about this decision and excited at the same time.  I have done all the reading today that I can to keep myself abreast of how and what to expect in the very near future.

My concerns:  Will she be a good mommy hen?  Will she leave the nest half way through the process (I will be getting a incubator as back up)?,  Will she look to destroy the newborns?  So much to think and worry about…

Pictures of set-up to follow in the morning. to be continued……