Tag Archives: funny

Aquapoultry, or, the washing of chicken feet.

Yes, I have taken to washing the feet of my chickens.  Not because I have too little to occupy my time, nor because I’m one of those clean freaks.

IMGP0332My Silkie flock has come down with a case of scaly leg mites this winter.  Scaly leg mites are pretty super gross.  Silkies are especially prone to them.  My old rooster has it the worst, the young rooster the least, and the hens just bad enough for me to feel bad for them.

And so, the Rx is washing the feet.  In tick and mite shampoo for dogs.  Soften the skin adhesions on their legs in warm water and scrub them with a toothbrush, and then, cover their feet and legs with Vaseline, which asphyxiates the mites.  Also, clean the coop and dust everything with a little diatomaceous earth.

IMGP0321In the winter, we were waiting for nighttime, then going out together, putting a toque over their heads and quickly washing their feet while they were hooded, then returning them to the coop to grumble about the alien abduction they just experienced while snagging and bagging the next bird.

In the summer, this is not practical.  My birds routinely stay up longer than I want to, so if I was going to wash chicken feet at all, it had to be in the daytime.

Turns out it’s not so hard.

The capturing of the birds is the hardest part.  They hate being captured, but once they are, they perch quite nicely in my hand.

The actual washing of the feet is pretty hilarious.  Holding the bird in one hand with their legs between two fingers, I dip the feet in the warm water.  If the water is too hot, they make a fist and retract it, but usually they obviously relax, standing in the water but sitting in my hand, and looking interestedly around.

IMGP0331What ladies don’t love having a nice foot bath?

IMGP0317The rooster gets a little too relaxed and tips forward like a narcoleptic, so I just tip him off my hand onto his chest with his legs hanging in the water.

IMGP0327A little less convenient for scrubbing his feet, but it more than makes up for inconvenience with hilarity.

IMGP0324IMGP0325I usually soak and scrub, wait, soak, rub their legs with my thumbs, scrub some more.  Soaking is more important.  Scrub too hard and it can hurt them, and they can bleed.  They will let you know when it gets to be too much, making a little fist.  I’ve had it!IMGP0322

Next comes the vaselining.  It gets all over their foot feathers and seems like it would pick up all kinds of crap, literally, but it doesn’t really, and the next day there’s a big difference.  The crusties are softened and wash off more easily.

Several days in a row is a good program, and then do it again after a week, and then again.

 

A chicken worthy of a name?

Since the tragic loss of the exceptional and beloved pet chicken Friendly last fall (I’m still sad), all the other chickens, indistinguishable in looks and behavior, have been just Chicken.  Even Naked, once her proud new plumage got a bit dingy, disappeared into the flock.

Now that the hens have been released, there’s one chicken distinguishing herself.

Typically there are three hens that stick very close to the rooster.  His girlfriends.  They cuddle with him at night while the other four perch over the nest boxes.  When he food clucks, the girlfriends dash up to him (as HW says, “Whatcha got, big Daddy?”), and the other hens barely glance up, rolling their eyes, “It’s probably just a stick again”.

Continue reading A chicken worthy of a name?

Let the chicken games begin!

Me: walking with some tools in a bucket.  I happen to be passing near the greenhouse.

Rooster: tall neck, warning clucks.

Hens: freeze mid-step like it’s Simon Says.  Outliers start to creep back towards the rooster and the group.

Me:  nonchalantly stroll past the hens, feeling examined.

Hens and rooster:  excited murmurs-  Was that a bucket? Psst, bucket!  She was definitely carrying a bucket!  Bucket!  Whisk, whisk, whisk (the sound of chicken thighs rubbing together)- pursuit of the bucket ensues.

IMGP0377

Me: sharp turn to see if I’m being followed.

Hens:  Freeze!  What?  We were just, uh, hanging out.  Right.

Me:  Wave clipboard at them in lieu of hat.  Hens pretend to retreat, none of us are fooled.

Repeat from whisk, whisk, whisk…