This morning I ambled down to the allotment to check on how our latest arrival was settling in. As I came onto the main path, I found Cliff and Geoff enjoying the fresh air and having a chat. Somehow half an hour passed by as we put the world to rights and caught up on each other’s news. Cliff has been busy and has managed to catch three rats! The biggest two, he caught around our main coop. There had been several holes appearing in the run which is always a tell tale sign of rats. Unfortunately, rats are a well-known hazard of having chickens and it’s vitally important to keep on top of any vermin. Cliff reckons our main coop is clear but he has seen one trying to hide under our shed. He is working on it and is confident of success.
In the greenhouse, I found our new arrival hiding as best she could in the corner whilst Leia tried to peck her. I moved Leia out of the way and got hold of the hen. She wasn’t in a good way. On her back was a large open area which looked inflamed and had three nasty looking cuts. I shouted to Cliff and he helped me give her a good dose of purple spray. Hopefully it will ensure that there is no infection. Cliff also recommended that I put her in a separate run to keep her safe whilst she heals. It was a great idea but how to make it work?
In the end, Cliff and I decided moving the outdoor run into the coop, providing a safe space for the injured hen whilst still keeping her warm and dry. What flowed was half an hour of moving things around whilst simultaneously trying to stop Lilja and Leia escaping from the greenhouse whenever the door was open. I filled the lower deck of the nest box with new sawdust and the inside of the run. The upper deck of the nest box I left open so Lilja and Leia can lay (always assuming either of them ever feel so inclined!). This way both sets of chickens have a place to lay and move about without risking getting hurt or fighting.
Lilja and Leia are distinctly unimpressed by the new arrival and spent lots of time walking around the run trying to get at her. Lilja went as far as jumping onto the top of the run to see if she could get at her from above. Quickly, our new arrival sussed that they couldn’t get at her and began to shout at them, clearly in a mocking way, jeering at them both. I watched for several minutes, pondering what to call our very sassy new chicken. In the end, I chose Sadie because Sassy Sadie sounded pretty funny.
Here’s hoping she improved over the next week. Without having to worry about being pecked, good food and rest, I hope she will get her feather back soon.