Her brief supervised outings and chaperoned dates quickly turned into twice a day solo forays that got longer and longer. At first she would come in wiped out, eat (or skip eating), drop into her banana box and sleep for hours. You could see her building strength though, and she could stay out longer and longer before wanting to come in.
She was more of a solo chicken at first, as the other chickens still lived in the greenhouse and gravitated towards their food dishes over there, while she stayed very near the house. Jumping up on the sawhorse was kind of impressive for one good leg.
Then Cheeks started to make the walk over to the greenhouse! She chose a rooster (Chris is the lucky guy).
And then…she started to stay outside mostly all morning, and all afternoon. Back in to drop an egg, or eat, and then, she would announce she was ready to go back outside by yelling. In the morning as soon as she saw the other chickens through the window, cue earsplitting yellllling! with a prelude of whining.
That would earn her a prompt toss out the door for the morning (at 42 sec).
When she was in, she made it plain room temperature was too hot for her now too, by doing airplane impressions. She’d acclimated to the cooler outdoors.I’m hot. Should I start yelling or am I making myself clear?
All in all, she progressively spent less and less time as a coddled house chicken, and started her transition back to normal chicken. I’m so proud!
Cheeks has been doing very well. She still lives in the house, as she has for months, continuing to be low maintenance (except for a predilection for beak-sweeping her food); and self regulating, staying in her banana box or on her Rubbermaid (her proscribed territory) and moving between the two on her own.
She has been doing better than ever, although the swelling on the top of her foot continues to grow. It’s a bubble that looks about to drain every day. For weeks.
I soak her afflicted foot every day, and sometimes get a little drainage, but in spite of this impediment (literally), she’s in good spirits, relatively active, interested, and talkative.
Exceedingly talkative. The last few days, she’s become a talking machine, standing up on her box, going on and on. BrrBRbrbrBRbrBRR, sometimes in a complaining tone, but mostly just a gossipy/lecturing tone. We’re like, What has gotten into you? You’ve got things to say!
What have you got in there?
OMG, is that an egg?! You laid an egg!
You’d have thought she’d levitated, I was so excited about this egg.
It’s a perfect, pale blue egg. Unfortunately not fertile, because she hasn’t been on a date for a long time. I’d love to hatch some of her offspring.
But what it really means is that she’s healthy! She’s healthy and comfortable enough to resume egg laying, in spite of her foot she can barely use.
Healthy enough that she felt like contributing to the household:)
*She laid another the next day, and the talking decreases dramatically
Cheeks is well. She needed her afflicted foot addressed, and redressed.
HW likes to hold her up sitting on her tail, and that it makes her look like a little person. She is surprisingly very ok with this. Whatever you do, don’t put these pictures on the internet! From this upright position, she is very involved in the whole operation. Quiet and still, but watching it all up close.
I had to flush her wound and try to squeeze out any pus. You can see her toe is healed, but the infection settled in the palm of her foot, and there’s still swelling. Extraction went well.Show us your new foot glove!
Cheeks is doing much better than when this photo was taken a few days ago, and that aloe in the background is doing much worse.
She’s done quite a bit of standing on both feet today, which is an improvement.
She really likes to roost on the edge of the box when she’s done eating. She spends a lot of the day there, watching us come and go. She doesn’t miss anything, and I can tell when she wants to go in her banana box for a nap.
It’s neat how much like a cat the house chicken is these days. Quiet, unobtrusive, just there. Only difference is that she doesn’t come and climb into your lap when you sit down. Once placed there though, she’s happy to stay for hours.
Today I put some oatmeal in her dish, but it was hot, so I went upstairs. She was in her box, and I was going to lift her out to her Rubbermaid in a minute when I came back down. This is post-breakfast, mind you, but there was a sound – “Did she just jump out of her box?” Yes, yes she did. She’d seen me do something with her dish and couldn’t wait to find out what it was.
From outside the window.
She’s been demolishing that aloe. Three arms are missing now, and she’s started on a fourth, plus the other plant. It’s good for her, I’m sure, it’s just wild that she’s consuming so much of it!
She took a whole arm off of this plant (right), and a couple of beak shaped bites out of another arm.
Then she took the tip off another plant. She really ate quite a lot of it, despite the bits she left behind. Apparently, today she just wanted some aloe. It’s good for her. No one else is eating it (I’ve tried, I find it bitter).
This is the box she stands on, to eat, and just to hang out for a lot of the day. Easy to clean:) The aloe just seemed like part of the buffet.
Last night when I yoohooed Galahad and crew in to the open greenhouse door, I was horrified. Only eight keets came with him! He did his doorway pause, and satisfied, he went in and they proceeded to shuttle up to their perch. But! You’re missing two! Where are they?!
A white and a grey one were missing. I came upon the grey one hunched in the weeds nearby. Immediately I knew he was hurt, and when I tried to coach him to the door, he demonstrated a limp on the right side, and more alarmingly, deliberately avoided the greenhouse door, instead fleeing from me and then settling down in a hen tent. Alright, I thought, I’ll get him from there later when the sun goes down. Guineas are super dopey after dark.
That’s terrible! They were doing so well, how can two be lost in one day? At least this one with the lower body injury can be saved. I just need to get him inside and into rehab. It’s been awhile since there’s been a rehab bird in the house.
After dark, no guinea! Gone. I flashlight searched for quite a while. Vanished. That’s it for him, I thought. A raccoon showed up two days ago. I hoped to maybe see him come out of the woods in the morning.
This morning, no keet. This afternoon, no keet. Now there is a family of Galahad +8. No keet all day.
Until close up time! There he was, hunched near the healthy flock.I got the bird catching hoop net and pursued. He was limping even harder than the previous day, but still gave me a good chase, and the rest witnessed up close the whole capture and disentangling and removal, so I wasn’t sure Galahad would ever trust me again, but so far so good.
I carried the hurt keet home and stuck his head in a hat, so I could inspect his injury. He laid there perfectly still for a long and thorough palpating, and continued to lay there long past the inspection. I just live in this hat now.
I couldn’t find anything wrong! No bone breaks or skin breaks – it’s a mystery. But perhaps, like Sprout, it will show up later with swelling.
Now the keet is in an Ikea EKET organizational solution (lidded felt box), sans hat, with victuals and electrolytes. Finally silent after mounting a thumping, pecking, escape attempt. I know, it’s super weird to be in a box in the house, and guineas really really hate being contained in anything, but it’s for your own good! Drink your aspirin water!
The little crippled chick was feeling much better today. She started the day with some demanding chirps, so I tucked her in with HW, which always makes chicks happy. After a cozy nap, she got restless and I put her back in her box. I desperately needed more sleep. We had a big driving day and it’s not good waking up feeling nauseously sleep deprived.
But she wasn’t having the box. Cheep! Cheep! CHEEP! CHEEP! CHEEPCHEEPCHEEPCHEEPCHEEPCHEEP! Chicks are loud. Arrgh. I shuffled downstairs, wrapped her in my t-shirt, and tried to go back to sleep with her tucked in against me. But she was over resting, and feeling rather active. I rested yesterday! Wriggling, squirming, clambering, and tiny little talons were interrupting my sleep.
Frustrated, I took her back down, and set her in the front of Apples’ box. Maybe Apples can chicksit. Ok, I’m glad you’re feeling so much better, but I really need you to shut up! Apples flinched away, staring sideon, like a fencer en gard. What is that!? The chick turned its head, and Apples leapt out the back of her box squawking, like a lady jumping on a chair because of a mouse. She climbed onto my hand and I lowered her down to her newspaper, eye level with the chick in her box. (Are you scared of that little chick?) I left them staring at each other and returned to passing out for a couple more hours.
When I woke up, both of them were hanging out in the mud room on the mat, cleaning their feathers together. They had been roaming all over the house together, the way Apples almost never does on her own. She was obviously showing off, now she had someone to show things too. Here’s where I clean my beak on the mat. This is the boot tray, it’s nicely sheltered under this shelf. There might be crumbs under the cutting board. It was adorable for about a minute. Poop everywhere.
The chick seems like a slightly rude or presumptuous unexpected guest, making itself at home in her box, demanding to be snuggled, but they seemed immediately attached. She can’t get around very far or fast, and Apples doesn’t, so they are perfectly matched. The chick is hopping around on one leg, holding up the broken one, but seems to have no shortage of energy nor to be in pain anymore. When the one leg gets tired it flops down and has an active rest- feather cleaning, or eating, if resting near the bowl. Her leg is blue and I want to unwrap to check it for circulation but think it’s more important to be immobilized long enough to knit- leave the cast on.
I walled them up in the traditional box/newspaper area, but it was clear, they were explorers now, and a tea towel would pose little barrier. Movin’ out!
I set them up in a chickery outside on the short clover. Right next to Cream Puff the Fierce, for role modeling.
This is going to solve everything. The injured chick has a support staff, and Apples has a companion, and they will transition to outdoor community life together. Apples should start laying eggs soon or go broody, but for now, she’s an adopted Auntie!
I have a handicapped chicken. I’ve no idea what’s wrong with her, but her right leg doesn’t support her weight. She hops and tries to step on her right leg but it collapses under her. I’ve grabbed her for inspection, and she happily hangs out in the football hold while I inspect her leg. I’ve gone all over her foot for slivers, and massaged all up her leg, but she doesn’t ever flinch, just sternly watches me palpating her stuck-out leg.
The first couple days she stayed in or right next to the coop, and then she roamed a little farther, but not all the way to our house like the flock goes every day. She seems to not want to get too far from the coop. I’ve had to put bowls of water in the woods in her range. It’s tricky to leave food out where she will find it before all the other chickens do.
She doesn’t seem to be in any pain, but she’s obviously limited and subdued. She’s got that injured animal wariness, hiding herself in the brush. It’s a mystery what is going on for her if there’s nothing she winces at, but she can’t walk on it.
I had another chicken die. No known cause, but she was an old chicken, one of the original set. I was getting eggs out of the coop and she was in there, and she didn’t skedaddle indignantly like they usually do. I moved her aside, and she settled down like she was going to rest a bit more.
I checked on her a little later and she was still there. I stroked her head and back (a dead giveaway that she wasn’t feeling well). Her upside down lids closed and she fell asleep while I pet her.
I checked on her in an hour and she had tucked her head under her wing and died:(
This one did not hit a window. I was riding my bike home, two panniers heavily laden with cucumbers, when I overtook a bird limping and flapping along at the edge of the asphalt.
It was a little mourning dove. Familiar to me; I’m used to seeing a pair of doves at this spot on the road.
She let me pick her up without setting my bike down. Good thing, because it would be tough to lift up a loaded bike with one hand.
Her wing was almost detached, held on by the skin, with a little break in the skin on the wing, and her underside was bloody on the same side as injured wing and limpy leg. This bird was hit by a car.
So there I was, a bird in the hand, scorching hot day, heavy bicycle, a kilometer from home. What to do?
I rode home one handed, with the bird in the other hand. I sort of displayed her in front of me, somehow hoping that a passing driver would stop and offer assistance. Is that a bird? Can I help?
In fact, even the couple that pulled over to take a snapshot of our local pastoral beauty, while I was standing right there on the other shoulder, did not even register the bird in my hand.
The bird sat peacefully folded in my hand the whole way home, facing interestedly into the wind. It must have been similar to flying for her. Nothing new here.
Once I had to signal a left turn and letting go with either hand was not an option. Uhh, what do do here? Gesture with the bird. No flipping. That was the only time she wiggled a little, when I waved her out in space to point at my turn.
Phew! Made it home. Bird into box.
I was fully expecting her not to make it through the night. I assumed I had picked her up right after her accident and that she may any minute succumb to internal injuries.
But no, in the morning she was alert, even made a couple bids for escape, although she could not be interested in food.
A friend picked her up to put her on the Hope for Wildlife underground railroad. That is, connect her to the network of volunteer drivers of injured wildlife.
I don’t expect this bird could be saved with a wing injury that bad, but at least she got to the hospital.