Monday, April 27, 2015

Clipping wings.....Crikey!...

Steve and I had a pow-wow about the chickens this last Saturday.  I felt they weren't getting enough sun in their newly improved coop and run.  Don't take me wrong, I LOVE the new roof.  It has been a Godsend for keeping them dry and keeping me sane.  Still, they are in shade most of the time.  Steve wondered if they even noticed, but he knows me, hence the pow-wow.

We decided that they should be able to run the garden, at least when someone is there to watch over them.  I've spent too much time on their care to have an eagle, or hawk, take one away.  This decision necessitated a YouTube session on wing clipping.  After seeing several, we were set to go.

Steve held and I cut.  I'm a little nervous here, so I only took off part of the primary flight feathers on the 1st girl (I got better with each one, though). Steve has the girl held with her head in his armpit so she's calm.  Mostly! Videos suggested a container to drop the feathers into so they don't blow all over the place and it's easier to take them to the compost pile, too.  Steve has done a masterful job taking this picture while holding the victim, uh, chicken.

Here is the wing after we decided to take the primary, and secondary, feathers off.  We'd put the first girl on the ground and DARN! if she still didn't get some height in flight.   True, she was absolutely scared to be out of the run and it took a while to calm her down.

Took the feathers to the compost pile and did get most of them turned into the pile before the wind came up and a few left the area.  Interesting idea to compost them.  Not something I'd thought of composting.

Everybody has calmed down by this picture.  Even me and Steve.  Ziva is off camera here and whining her head off.  Still not sure when I'll let her into the garden when the girls are out.  She seemed too INTENT on getting to them.

As an aside here...the lack of flight feathers seems to have made it a trifle hard to get up to the nest box.  It's not that high off the ground, either, but each of them had to try several times to get into the box.

Storms were predicted for later Saturday, but they stayed away until after dinner. Before then, I was doing the last watering of the day and as I'm working, I heard what sounded like a fight in the coop.  I looked over and 3 girls were in sight. The squawking went on for a few seconds, then silence.  I went to the coop and checked and found Bebe hanging upside-down with a toe caught in the nest box perch.   

I now have firsthand evidence that hanging upside-down DOES put chickens into a trace.    Bebe is perfectly still, hanging by the toe.  I quickly got the toe free and carefully held her and turned her upright.  I think we were both a little scared that this happened.  She let me hold her for a few minutes to calm her, which isn't something she normally lets happen.  

I'm just so glad I was there to save her.  I'm sure God had some say in the timing, too.  What would've happened if she hung all night?   Don't want to think of that.

The girls got some extra treats for going through all the trauma.  I needed some treats too, so we went out to dinner.  A couple glasses of wine and you'd think it hadn't been a stressful day.  Was home before the rains started.

Homesteading...the next frontier.  What's next?.....

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