Photo credit: Tracy Halladay

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Olga's Injuries - Update

As I explained in my previous post.  Our old Polish hen, Olga, was snatched up in the mouth of a neighborhood dog.  Luckily, my family was to the rescue, retrieved her and scared the dog away.  My wife had me run home from work to assess the damage.  This event reminds me of something everyone should know if they have pet chickens and let them periodically roam free; First, know what potential risks or predators are in your area.  Second, keep an eye on them.  I have heard an eagle or hawk fly by and screech and have seen the girls go to a state of alarm and run for our lilac bushes where they feel protected.  If you have an open area for your chickens to free range, it wouldn't take much for a bird of prey to snatch one.

Back to Olga.  She recovered Saturday, Sunday and Monday in a pen in my garage separated from the other hens while I watched her.  I kept the Wound-Kote nearby and would spray her injury each day to keep it protected.  She seemed alert and not too effected by the event.  Monday night, I decided to try putting her back in the run with the others and see if they remembered her, if she acted healthy and if she was able to get up to the roost that night.

As soon as I put her down, she immediately walked all around the run.  She checked out the feeder, she made sure there was water, she scratched, she greeted each hen.  She was home again.  It was interesting to watch her temperament change.  Once she reviewed everything and knew she was home, she began talking...it was a series of very happy clucks that I have gotten to recognize out of her when things were good.  She had a lot to say (she normally doesn't talk much) but she went on and on to her coop-mates, I'm sure telling them all about her adventure...ok, that is stretching it.  I try not to put human characteristics on animals, but sometimes it just happens.

Olga stretching her wings, happy to be back in the run.

Later that night, after dark, I wandered out to the hen house to make sure she was able to roost.  Frankly, I would have been just fine with her sleeping in a nest box until she healed (but I wont tell her that).  I was very happy to see her on the roost.  Not only comfortably resting on the roost, but she was in between Rosie (who is the mother hen and watches out for each hen's welfare) and Henrietta our leghorn. Now the significance of that to me is the fact that when these hens roam our yard, Henrietta and Olga are always together.  There is some connection, bond or friendship between them- I know, there I go again with the human characteristics.

Honestly, the social dynamics of chicken relationships is quite fascinating.  Watching their interactions with each other and with myself is very interesting.  I generally know who hangs out with whom and when I come out to the run, who will great me verbally, and who will crouch and wait for me to pick her up.

Well, the challenge for me now is just to monitor Olga's injury for healing and infection but I have high hopes.

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