Ambled down late to the allotment this morning to sort out the chickens and in theory to do some weeding… You can guess what happened about the weeding.
I quickly fed the chickens and checked on the mite situation – fairly under control but more dusting needed. So I left them to their food and pottered off to check on Molly and her chick.
I spotted something wrong with her comb. It didn’t look right somehow so I called Geoff and Cliff over to have a look. Cliff managed to get her out and hold her despite her best efforts and proceeded to berate him about it in by issuing the loudest squalks I have ever heard a bird make. Rather horrible was the discovery that somehow her comb has been largely sliced off. We have no idea how she has done it but it looks extremely painful and she understandably took extreme exception to Cliff checking it. He used vaseline to keep the dirt out of it, giving her a slicked back look worthy of an 1980’s business man.
Cliff has offered to keep his expert eye on her. She is feeding well and is a model mother to her chick so we hope she recovers although I rather doubt there is any way to fix her comb. No one knows how she managed to do it. We wonder whether a rat took the missing chick and tried to take the last one, Molly getting hurt whilst protecting her baby. But we have no proof – rat traps have been placed around the coop in the hope of catching any predators.
Oh no.one of our girls lost her comb 2 years ago, but she healed well and still lays well. It isn’t nice to see though so I know how you must have felt when you saw it.
It’s currently still attached but a good 3/4 has come off. It’s still attached and seems to have a good blood supply so she may just have a floppy loose comb from now on
Juvenile and skinny rats can fit through a quarter inch hole and could like get through the wire you have around the chickens. They are also adept at digging their way in. I wonder if there is a sharp piece of wire or a nail protruding anywhere within the pen. Those are easy to miss. Chickens also peck one another as you know and they can be quite vicious in this so one of her fellow birds could have done it. If a rat or other animal with teeth did it one would think there would be visible bite marks. I agree it is hard to say exactly what the cause may have been but a close inspection of the pen might be in order. You probably did that already and if so great. Those are my speculations for today! — Dan
Cliff has spotted a rat further down the plot and Phil has lost two of his newly hatched chicks to it. Rat traps and poison are out to try and get the issues sorted. Molly and her chick have beenoved elsewhere on site to protect them
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