|The Saga Continues........|
This latest storm dumped just shy of two feet on us, but with all the drifting, some places were over three feet. It made for some hard shoveling, and I am afraid that the chicken run netting has succumbed to yet another winter. I thought we had it figured out - larger netting, while still light and relatively inexpensive, was still strong and the larger holes let the snow fall through instead of accumulating on top and collapsing.
This snow was not falling for it. It was thick, heavy, wet snow that fell in monster sized flakes for almost 36 hours straight. I knew we were in trouble when i went out for the morning water check and saw accumulation where there should not have been. I used a large plastic leaf rake to knock the snow loose and let it fall though the holes, but I could tell that I was fighting a losing battle right from the start. Unless I stayed out there and raked the netting every five minutes, disaster was eminent.
I accepted defeat and let nature take it course, knowing that after the snow melted I would be outside in the mud removing flattened netting and trying my best to fold it for reinstalling in the spring. This has been an ongoing saga here, and I do battle every season.....
Part 1 - The Meltdown, or How It All Started
The chickens are spending most of their time in the coop due to the recent weather so I don't think they will mind. The only thing I do think they are minding is the close quarters. Granted, our coop is pretty darn big in terms of chicken per square feet. But like with any family, if you are 'cooped up' together for an extended period of time, someone is going to snap.
This evening I went to the coop for feeding and water check and discovered one of my ladies in laying in the corner with her head down. I could tell she was moving but not very much. I had the little man with me so i did not draw attention to her and I let him help fill the feeders. He was back in the house removing his snow boots while Roy and I went out to see what was happening with her. It looked like she had been attacked around the face and upper neck - she was bloodied and anxious. I checked all around the coop for signs of a predator or any loose boards but everything was secure. None of the other ladies were injured, except for one poor girl who went through a big molting and now has the spiky feathers starting to come back. She looks awful, but otherwise fine.
The only thing we could think of was that she was attacked by the other chickens. I have no idea why - the ladies have a nicely established pecking order and this chicken was not near the bottom. She is an average brown laying hen or regular size and good temperament. Could they be taking out their 'cooped up' frustrations? Picking on one bird at random? This seems pretty serious and aggressive for cabin fever!
Roy was not sure if she was going to make it - even though she was alert. We checked and her eyes seemed not to be damaged. I have a section if the coop penned off to put new birds in before we introduce them to the flock, which is secure. We placed her in there with food and water and some fresh straw so she will be left alone and tomorrow morning I will check on her when I change out the frozen water fonts.
I guess that the saying "when it rains, it pours" also applies to snow. Roy came home from a business trip early with a case of pneumonia and he was out of commission for days. The baby has a tooth cutting fever. Seamus has an intestinal infection that makes him ravenously hungry and he attacks the legs of anyone opening the refrigerator. The little man has been having a flare up of horrible behavior for the past week or so making his teacher and the ladies at the library story time roll their eyes when they see us coming. And now my poor chicken, who i hope pulls through.
Me? I have been taking massive doses of vitamin C to ward off any germs that come my way. If I get sick, this whole ship is going down.......