Aka, the post in which I admit I’m not as observant as I’d like.
A few posts ago, back in March, I posted that I had a possible broody hen. Our little Maicey spent more than a week debating whether or not to commit to sitting on eggs, but in the end, did not.
One of my constant readers, however, noted in the video I posted that Maicey was limping.
I confirmed, yes she was, but I couldn’t find an injury and after a couple days of pretending to go broody, the limp had stopped.
Flash forward to this week. A couple of things have been happening.
1) Both Felix and Luke has been ‘feeling their oats’ as we say. That is, they are hormonal young cockerels trying to steal a couple hens away from big papa Dots or big brother Pip.
2) Luke has become fixated on Maicey, much like Pip did Riley last year.
3) There has been a noticeable change in Maicey’s behavior. She’s not a shy hen normally, but is now skittish, running away from all the roosters, even Dots, hiding in corners, and squeaking like a scared rabbit whenever they approach. This is not like her at all.
I thought over-mating, and have been debating that I can’t keep all four, and which two should be the ones to leave.
I decided to put Maicey in the dog crate I use for medical separation or broody breaking, to give her a break from the elbows and hoping that, in her absence, Luke would find someone else to fixate on.
Later on, yesterday, I took outside for supervised exercise, and just sat watching her and watching the others. She sat on my lap for a while. Luke came over and made a play for her attention and I told him to go away.
He did, and she eventually got down off my lap in her own and went to forage.
I watched her for a long time. And then, I noticed her limping again. She hasn’t done it for a while, but when Dots approached and tried to wing dance for her, she squeaked and ran, well limped away.
So I go over, pick her up, and purely by chance, my hand brushed the underside of her fluff, down by the start of her legs.
There was something hard and dried on. I parted the fluff, and see – much to my horror- a huge gash in her side, just above her leg.
I’ll post a picture in a minute, but let me warn you, it’s NOT pretty.
I have been asking myself HOW did I miss that??? Never mind how it happened – we think a rooster spur injury, and are planning for Dots and Pip to get mani-pedis soon – but literally HOW DID I NOT SEE this big an injury on a chicken I handle every day? How? I can’t even – I don’t have words to describe the guilt I feel over missing it.
I immediately took her into the house, plopped her in a sink of warm water and try to clean up around it so I can see.
There is caked on dirt and other stuff, and something that looks like an advanced stage fungal infection. All likely.
It smells gross, it looks grosser.
She stood rather still and took most of my efforts at cleaning rather well. Maicey is good girl. I kept telling her how sorry I was and how good she was being. She really was. Anyone else would have pecked me, scratched or tried to get away.
I kept up until I hit a point where the deepest dirt was. When I touched her there, she cried they squeaky rabbit cry, and tried to get out of the sink.
My poor Maicey Grace!!!
My inquires on Facebook yielded the possibility that this is a spur related injury.
I’m treating with Scarlex Oil spray, vitamin B (orally) and if she continues to have pain, I can add penicillin and baby aspirin.
She is going to be in the dog crate for a couple of days, but I will also be taking her out for supervised exercise, so I can ensure her safety.
And yes, the boys with spurs are getting mani-pedis soon.
I’ve also begun checking the other hens for injuries, now that I know where to look. So far, this is just her.
I’m still upset over not seeing this. How do you just not see that big an injury on an animal you see and hold every day? Maicey is one of the favs. My lap hen who likes to sit in my lap and get petted. How did it go undetected this long, especially when I checked her over back in March?
I’ll keep everyone updated on her status, and how it heals.
And also the Boys and their mani-pedis.