You thought I was kidding, didn’t you?
You might remember my sad tale (ha!) of Haley’s butt, the result of some (I assume) anxiety-motivated feather picking. I’ve been keeping my eyes open, but have never caught the feather picker(s) in action. It may well be a pecking order thing, because the only balding butts are those of the three Plymouth Barred Rocks, and, oh my god, Haley.
Poor Haley! Not only is her butt much barer than the others, without so much as a combover to keep her warm at night (the Barred Rock girls’ baldness is intermittent and can only be seen in a stiff breeze), but the skin is so red.
Anyone who has spent any time with chickens knows that they love to peck at anything red. This can be a great advantage when trying to teach baby chicks what to eat or drink; just put it in a red container and let Nature do the rest. But woe betide the chick with a boo-boo! It goes from bad to worse to dead in very little time.
I have done what I could to ameliorate the irritation, spraying her butt with antibiotic spray, even repositioning her on the roost at night so her butt was to the coop wall, not in another chicken’s face. The spot’s not infected at all, but it sure looks sore.
And, being a Production Red, Haley continues to lay us glorious, large eggs, wham, bam, here’s your omelet, without a word of complaint, unless Maisie’s is in the Hideaway, barring Haley from the swift execution of her appointed eggs. It is to weep!
Then, I saw it happen. Yesterday afternoon, the girls were in the coop while the sun was still up. Buffy was on the back roost, Haley was on the front roost, and Buffy was pecking her butt! Bad chicken! BAD CHICKEN!!
Time for serious action.
I visited Chicken Debbie the Oracle of Agway today, and picked me up some Blu-Kote. This is also an antibiotic, antifungal veterinary spray, but it’s deep indigo, so the injured spot is no longer red, and therefore, no longer a neon sign flashing “PECK ME” to other chickens.
So, now that Haley’s butt is purple, we shall have to wait and see if she gets the time she needs to regrow her tail feathers.
And if you think her butt is purple, you should see my hands. Chicken Debbie did not lie.