Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Embarrassing Chicken Attire

A couple days ago I found one of my two Jersey Giant hens pretty badly hurt.  Perhaps it began because she was molting and had lost feathers, or maybe Zinny had nabbed a mouthful of feathers off her back, I don't know, but the other chickens had been pecking at her back and she was in pretty bad shape.

I brought her inside, covered her injury with Neosporin and have kept her inside in a large dog crate since.  It was getting old for both of us - she was bored and I was not thrilled that the front entry was beginning to smell a bit like a chicken coop. So, today I sewed her a little protective apron (or sometimes it is called a saddle) out of some scraps of upholstery fabric. This is the side that goes next to her body - it is quite soft. The elastic criss-crosses over her chest and the edges of the apron tuck under her wings.  Before putting it on her, I sprayed her back with Blue-kote, a veterinary wound dressing that I always manage to get all over myself, so now I have inky blue hands.
She was not too  pleased with the  apron at first, trying to back out of it.  Her best girlfriend, the other black Jersey Giant hen came over to inspect her new attire.
Then she strutted away. I thought she was fairly happy, but I began to get worried when I could not find her all afternoon.  Finally, after chores tonight I found her hiding in the barn. I hope she is ok and not too embarrassed by her apron.  I gave her some food in the barn because she doesn't seem to want to return to the coop tonight. Maybe she doesn't realize that her apron is protective armor in case those mean chickens try to peck her, poor girl.


Cheri said...

So frustrating when the hens pick on each other! Love the apron idea though!

Anonymous said...

the poor dear girl!! sounds like you've taken great care of her...hope she heals fast and resumes her usual magnificent plumage!!

Quinn said...

If the apron continues to disturb her, you might try putting her in the dog crate IN the coop, so she will be "with" the flock but protected from them til she heals up. I had one hen who got torn up pretty badly, healed up (with BluKote) and regrew her feathers, and in one day (ONE day) of freedom got torn up all over again. I figured out which hens were doing it, and sold them, even though they were good layers. Haven't had a problem since, knock on wood!