So.......there's a chicken in the "back room" of our house. It's kind of one of those "You know you're a farmer when......" moments. She is in a dog crate, at least. And she does (happily) go peck around in the yard during the daylight hours. But at night, she sleeps in our back room. Basil named her Chickaletta.
The story of how this came to be is a pretty common one, I would think. Chickens are very finicky creatures. They are constantly getting little ailments or seemed to be injured, but usually go away on their own. Or, occasionally, chickens die. For no apparent reason. You will walk into the coop and find a chicken that has lived it's peaceful life on the farm and decided to move on.
This situation with Chickaletta was a little different. I walked into the coop for evening chores about a week ago, and she was on her back, right by the door. I actually thought she was dead at first and reached down to pick her up and realized that she was not dead at all. She was just stuck on her back......and she had an eye missing (or so I thought).
I put her down, right side up, and watched for a minute. She clearly had some balance issues going on, and I wondered if the missing eye was causing it, or if it was something more. Immediately, as soon as she was upright and walking around, about 5 hens started pecking her. Literally, with no remorse. Just pecking the crap out of her. Specifically, the injured eye.
I was furious. I get the whole "pecking order" and all that, but this was just ridiculous. I couldn't just stand and watch these hens peck this poor chicken to death. After scolding and yelling at all the evil chickens, I finished chores with the injured chicken under one arm. I took her out with me and had plans of setting up a temporary space for her somewhere in the barn until I could figure something out. The kids had a different idea. They wanted to bring her in so we could take care of her and make her better. They argued that she would die in the barn because of the skunk that lives under the floor. In the end, I could not convince them that the skunk would not eat the chicken.
And...................................she ended up in a dog crate in the back room of our house. She is very well taken care of, and seems to be a VERY happy chicken. She goes out and free ranges during the day and follows the kids around the yard. We did try to re establish her with the coop a few days ago. That did not go well.
The good news is, her eye is still there, and healing nicely. The bad news is....she seems to have permanent neurological issues. I'm not sure the evil hens will ever accept her as one of their own....again. I'm not sure what Chickaletta did, but it must have been bad to receive the kind of treatment she did from the flock.
Also, Basil is mad at her because she's not laying eggs. He thinks it's the least she can do for us since we've taken such good care of her. :)
Dylan and Harmony, whichever of us have the time to sit down and write for a few minutes. : )