Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Chicken Makeover

Nick and I finished toe nail trimming today.  Dolly had another go at herding, but although she is brilliant I don't think I tell her to do the right thing at the right time so it got a bit confusing at time.

With the exception of the usual pantomime with Ben, the wether, they all behaved very well.  We haltered Ben and blindfolded him and he allowed me to trim his nails but by toe number 3 we havd to call Mike for assistance - more so that we could restrain him gently rather than create a wrestling match.  He has very curly toe nails and so is difficult to deal with even when he is co-operating.  They annoying thing is that once the treatment is over - without any pain by the way- he just gets up and accepts a handful of feed as if we are best friends.

One of the kids was limping so we had a look at her.  She has strip which is where grass or hay gets into the space between the hoof and makes the skin a little sore or inflamed.   We trimmed the hoof and applied the magical blue spray (terramycine) to prevent infection.   We will be checking all goat and kid feet next week anyway, so as long as the limp stops she will not need any further treatment until then.

The four weanlings who are the oldest cria still on the farm came in for toe nail trimming and were very well behaved considering that they have not been handled very much yet.  We also haltered them and after a while took them back to their paddock on the halter.   Three were very good but the fourth was one of those who throws himself on the ground  with great force and then plays dead.  Luckily he soon got over it and whilst not quite as relaxed as the others, he is at least tolerating the halter.   We left their halters on and caught them again late in the afternoon.  They stood on a loose rein until we released them.   The next trick will be to get them to walk properly on the lead rope.

I pointed out to Mike that one of the hens seemed to be broody.   We decided that an old dog kennel we had in the garden would make an ideal breeding house for her.  The advantage being that she can live within the chicken paddock near their sheds.   The last lot grew up in the barn and kept going back there which eventually led to the disappearance of the well grown chicks. We hope that if they grow up near the main chicken sheds, they will be more likely to stay in the area.

That all seemed simple to me, but no, Mike found that the kennel was rotting and it needed an extra opening so we could get in to clean it out even if there was a cage for the hen and chicks to run around in - i.e. a door at the back and the front.  Hence he embarked on a total rebuild.  New roof, new entrance, new supports here and there - voila a new house for our potential mum. Eventually we decided to call it a day and put the hen and today's eggs in the house for her to nurture.  Tomorrow we will take the mini hen house into the chicken paddock on the hay trailer.

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