December 13, 2016

Six new additions

We received about a week ago that a colleague of a family friend had gotten a coop and six chickens thinking he and his family would be backyard chicken keepers.  They had only had the birds 6-8 weeks when their house sold, and they had decided they didn't want to move the chickens.  They asked if we would come and get the chickens and possibly even take the coop.  It was free for the taking; they just wanted someone else to claim the birds.

So Josh and I went over to their house with the trailer.  We found the birds milling about in their coop: two Barred Rocks, two Rhode Island Reds and two Golden Comets.  They looked to be about four months old and mostly healthy.  One of the Golden Comets had a gimpy looking wing.  When we caught it and got a closer look, we surmised that some animal had gotten the poor girl and chewed most of her wing off.  There was exposed bone and dead tissue hanging limply off her one side.  Somehow, despite this trauma, she seemed alert and active.  

We put the birds in a dog cage, loaded up the coop, and then re-situated the birds inside for the trip home. It was a surprisingly easy process.

When we got the girls home, I took the injured bird into the workshop so I could get a closer look at her wing.  After some examination, I could see that all that was connecting her wing to her body was dead tissue so I used tin snips to cut it loose.  That left just the stump of a bone tucked into her side.  I brought her in with her sisters in our little baby coop, which we use for isolating new or injured birds.  They all snuggled in together for a bit before coming out to get some food and water.  

We are hopeful that these birds will eventually integrate with our flock.  We've had pretty good success with taking in adult birds, letting them habituate in the baby coop and an isolated run, then mixing them in out in the yard where there's lots of room to roam.  Eventually they naturally join in with the group.  

My only concern is that bird with one wing is highly likely to get picked on.  It's amazing how perceptive birds are of weakness in each other, and they're quick to gang up on the weakest link.  That's their instinct as, if they were out in the wild, that weak bird could put them all at risk.  So we will have to keep a close eye for any aggressiveness towards her.  

We are grateful for these new additions and that we were able to rescue six birds who needed a home!

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