I’ve been letting Buffy have more and more courtyard time, both on her own, and with her flock. The integration seems to be fine; if I can keep Buffy from ripping herself to shreds, all will be well.
And the rest of the flock is getting used to the drill. I call them into the courtyard (I’ve been using a dog squeaker for this; works like a charm and saves my voice), close the gate, bring Buffy out, and bring on the A+ snacks. They get black oil sunflower seeds, dry oatmeal, even mealworms, their absolute favourite, which they haven’t had in months due to the expense. This has made Buffy very popular. I may be anthropomorphising.
Pavlov has done his work. Not only do the girls come running with the slightest urging, but each and every time I emerge from the lodge door to check on the proceedings, they all flock around me to see what the next course is. I can hardly get out the door. This morning, when I stepped out to find Buffy, leaving the screen door ajar, I returned to find four chickens inside the lodge, just scoping things out. Make yourselves at home, girls.
Buffy is no longer naked. The bandages had to go; they were annoying her dreadfully, and she had worried them off enough that she was able to do some damage. I had to cut the bandages off the feathers. Like she isn’t bald enough.
I tweaked the saddle design, because it was designed for hens with bare backs, not bare bums, and for over-humped hens, not self-cannibalising ones. I made it about 3″ longer, and the extra length is about 3″ wider, to drape over the sides of her butt.
Speaking of cannibalisation, you know how kid’s jeans have that elastic waistband with all the buttonholes in it so it the waist can be adjusted to fit? Stepdaughter the Elder definitely needs those, as she’s the skinniest of Minnies and needs the waistband tightened to its utmost even on “skinny” jeans. Stepdaughter the Younger, however, can wear her jeans off the rack, so I stole the navy, buttonholed elastic, and the accompanying buttons, to make the straps for Buffy’s new cape. She’ll never notice it’s gone…
C’est très chic, non?
I had feared that it might also need a belly strap, to keep her honest, but it seemed to keep the wound out of her reach quite as it was.
From this angle, you can see that her wound is not out of the reach of her sisters. (GRAPHIC)
I heard a ruckus out in the courtyard this morning, and arrived in time to see Buffy scurrying away from someone. So, I’m afraid there will have to be some sort of belly strap to hide the wound from the side, and I may need to clip her three remaining tail feathers, so the cape lies flatter and more snugly. Sorry, Buffy.
This has been a very steep learning curve. Next time, god forbid, I will do better by my girls.
And then there’s the actual wound care, which has gone from spraying on Blu-Kote to covering the wound with antibiotic ointment to keep it moist. With my hands. Touching the wound. On purpose.
I guess I’m a farmer now…