Most of you trim your dog's nails, and some of you probably trim your cats. Today, I trimmed several bird's toes, and we did one bird's beak... but I didn't get pictures of that.
We have one Polish hen. I will never do that again... they do not see well, and the other birds tend to pick on them because they are different. Buffy has always laid a very nice white egg, but she has also hung herself up twice in our henyard fence, literally jammed her long foot through the wire, and hung until someone rescued her. Only in the last few weeks has she laid again. It was her beak we trimmed for the second time, it grows very fast, and makes it hard for her to eat.
In the little henhouse are a number of chickens who never come out in the light of day. This flock was originally all small birds, and last year I put the bigger chicks in there with them. Unfortunately, Rocky and Brutus, the two big roosters, have grown enormous, and they are picking on all the hens. I am going to have to come to a decision soon about what to do... probably re-home the big boys, though they are gorgeous roosters. It would be one thing if we were breeding them, but I have only one Rock hen, and three Welsummer hens, and they are getting bare-backed at this point.
Three weeks ago, I moved two of the little silkie-cross hens out of the little henhouse into the pen with Cocky, the Mille Fleur in the pasture pen. These two adjusted well to living in the doghouse in this pen with the four new Millies. Three days ago, I took another of the little white silkie crosses and put her out there, but I could see she was having trouble. Tonight I picked her up and looked at her well.
As you can see, she has a bad case of bumblefoot, and nails way too long. One toe is gone.
I clipped her nails, being very careful not to cut down into the quick. She was actually very good for me. Tomorrow night I'll start treating the bumblefoot. We have used Campho Phenique on it in the past, with great success, but we isolated the birds when we did it. I think I am going to smother her feet with Vaseline, it will smother the mites, and loosen up the plaques. I've had success with it, too. I wish we could isolate her for a few days. When the new henhouse is finished, we'll have a couple of isolation cages... our nursing cage in the current big henhouse is being used for a nest by the egg-layers.
We have had to put down a few birds with bad bumblefoot.
Here is little Fleura, one of the other of the three little hens, who is also a silkie cross. You see what the big roosters have done to her. She also has bad feet, in fact, one toe is almost off. These little hens never came outside, and stayed just out of arm's reach in the little henhouse. I have got to get them all moved out. The little cockerel, the only survivor from last year that doesn't crow... has a very bad case of bumblefoot, but I am afraid to put him with any of the other groups. The big birds do not have it. He may actually have to be put down, but tomorrow night I'll try to pull him out and take a good look at him. There are two other little hens with him, my last purebred silkie, Silka, and one of her white daughters. Their nails need trimming too. We've found that the hens who regularly get exercise rarely need feet trimmed, and the silkies of all the birds need it the most.
Fleura is now in with the Millies in the pasture pen.
The third little hen, another white, is doing fine in that pen, and got trimmed tonight. She is laying daily, in fact.
This rather sinister looking hen is one of the new ones from two weeks ago, but the reason I show her is that my clue was right in front of me... see how washed out her comb and cheeks are? This indicates an older hen, in fact, I suspect this one is about five. I'm not sure she's laying at all... but I did get 8 large eggs tonight.
Okay, what the heck is up with this????