13 January 2011


Another story from around Christmastime because nothing of bloggable consequence happened today.

Above is a foot on a live and uncomfortable rooster. It seems he got a couple scratches that became infected. It costs $75 and an hour's drive down the mountain to see a bird doctor. The only bird doc in the area. So we went with plan B: Google.

A chicken forum helped me diagnose the problem, which is called Bumblefoot, and I found good directions on how to lance the area and drain it. It's a good thing that neither blood nor pus make my stomach turn. Mr. Fuzzy took photos but I think his camera ate them. You might wish to say a silent "thank you" about that. After about half an hour, with Nurse Worrywort holding No. One still, our rooster had his wounds filled with neosporin, a comically bandaged foot, and was in his overnight crate with a nice bowl of cat food in his belly. Gotta keep the patient's strength up, you know!

The rooster's name is Number One because, well, he's the lead dude. We tried keeping him inside, in a crate, but he was bored and worried about his flock. We were choking on chicken stink despite changing his litter daily. The hens were worried and the other roosters beating eachother up to see who would get to take the lead. Too bad, because that meant that three days after "surgery" he was out and about in the dirt.

If I could have kept him inside for a week or two I would have doped him with Doxycycline from the pet store. They sell it for parakeets and macaws and the like. But, since he'd be eating and drinking from the common feeders I couldn't take that tactic. So, instead, I fed the chickens a whole lot of chopped garlic every day. Garlic is a generally accepted topical antibacterial agent and the only definitely safe thing I could think of to use. My herb books all agree that it works the same way internally too. It's also an herbal dewormer and by the looks of "things" it probably had that effect too.

It turns out that my chickens LOVE garlic. The boys crowd the girls out to get at it. It's as though they are addicted to the stuff.

No. One's foot is slowly looking better. He doesn't limp or favor it any more. Everyone in the hen house seems happy to have their leader returned too.

Well, except Number Three, who was actually 2nd in charge. (There was a change of pecking order after he got named.) He was pretty ticked off about it because he was managing to wrest that top spot from the other guys. But it's OK. He went to a new home with some roosterless hens a week or so ago. I hear he's doing well.

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