Baby steps.

I’m way behind with the Buffy Report, because I’ve been swamped with work that pays. Unpleasant work. I tell you, if I ever figure out a way to make money writing this blog, I will be a very happy woman. Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll never be a very happy woman.

Anyhoo.

After Buffy slept inside Wednesday night, sans eggs, she was raring to go outside first thing Thursday morning. She blended right in with her flock and stayed with them all day. The solution was two-fold: there were no eggs calling her back to the lodge, and she was naked.

Yup, naked. Nakeder, even, than Nature made her. I Blu-Koted her up and sent her outside on what was to be a 65F degree day. She wasn’t happy about the Blu-Kote, but she was very happy about being naked. This seems to have made all the difference, as she blended right in with her girls rather than going off by herself. A sight, as you can imagine, that made this mama’s heart hurt with happiness to see.

She even went off property for the first time since the attack. I was bringing in eggs Thursday morning, and I saw the girls were over at our southerly neighbour’s place, their favourite morning hangout. They even hang out on her front porch, which faces east. We have the coolest neighbours.

As I approached, Buffy was tentatively heading across the road after them. Mid-road, she stopped and turned to look at me. And just stood there. I literally gasped and held my hands up to my mouth. Goddammit, girl, one way or the other!!

I turned my head away so she wouldn’t think I was calling her, and she followed her sisters to the other yard. It’s a good thing we don’t get a lot of traffic. And, yes, “chicken crossing” signs will be erected.

She stayed with them all day, coming to me for food, but not for comfort, followed them into the coop at lockdown, as though nothing had ever happened. Yessssss. It was the perfect day for reintegration: warm, sunny, and Buffy was not expected to lay, having laid late the day before. It all went without a hitch.

Buffy, at this point, has no tail feathers, and tail feathers are essential to flight. I knew I’d have to boost her up to the roost when it was Tallulah Time. Imagine my surprise and delight when I went into the coop to find her already aroost, snuggled between two of her sisters.

So proud.

So, that’s that, right? Not so fast.

The next morning, she emerged from the coop with everyone else and I was delighted when my count, once again, went “three, three, two, two”. As it should.

But, an hour later, she was on her own at the entrance of the barn, crying. She needed to lay, and “her” nest was nowhere to be found. I brought her back into the lodge and settled her into her still-erected crate, so she could lay in “her” nest and get a fill-up of high protein snacks. She calmed immediately, and went about the business of laying. Around noon, she went out again, and, if she held herself apart from her sisters frequently, she was still with the flock, and went to bed without incident.

Baby steps.

This morning, it’s brisk out there, relative to the bizarro warm weather we’ve been having, and will have for the remainder of the week. Buffy’s newly-formed, naked skin is bright pink from the cold, and she ate her scab again. The Man rolled his eyes (yes, you did), but I brought her into her crate this morning, to leave her there until she lays and warms up.

The warm weather we’re expecting will be ideal for getting her back to her group 100%. At some point, I am going to undertake bathing her, my very first chicken bath, and hers. It should be an hilarious experience, which I promise to document fully.

I have saved the six eggs Buffy has laid since the attack. I didn’t throw them out, because I just couldn’t, and then, Chicken Debbie and I hatched a plan. (Oh, I am sorry.)

The babies will be brooded in the coop this year, in two separate crates. I’m going to place Buffy, now no stranger to the siren song of motherhood, in a crate beside the poults, the same crate she’s used for over two weeks, with food, water, and her six eggs (brought to room temperature, of course…I’m not a monster). I’m going to see if, under those conditions, she’ll return to broodiness.

If she sits the eggs for, say, a week or more, I will take a chance and slip the day-old chicks under her on April 20, and see if she’ll foster them. There are many, many advantages to this arrangement, versus brooding without a mama.

But that’s the subject of another post.

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4 thoughts on “Baby steps.

  1. That’s wonderful to hear! Go Buffy!!

    Chickens love baths. They especially love a good blowdry. Don’t deprive her of the latter ;)

    I tried slipping a chick under my broody today, and it did not go well. I just wanted to see how she would be with chicks, as she is sitting on 14 day eggs. One more week and I will have 5 baby chicks! <3 Hope she likes them more than my week old babies lol

    • Chickens love baths??!! Then where does “madder than a wet hen” come from? I’m expecting a hideous struggle. No?

      • No! Mine love it! Some more than others. I had one hen that would fall asleep, so we had to have two people helping. One to keep her head above bubbles, and the other to do the job.

        Just make sure to blow dry her, or she will go straight to a dust bath. That is indeed their very favourite thing. They zone out. Even my roosters love a blow dry.

        I’ve given almost all of mine a bath. I did not get them as chicks, and their smell was not acceptable when I got them (almost all of them, but some were fine).

      • That’s HILARIOUS. Well, I’m not dreading it quite so much now, but Buffy’s been through a lot, so methinks it will still be a 2-person job. Stepdaughter the Elder has gleefully volunteered.

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