Chickens, Farm Life

Signs of Life

Spring is just around the corner! The signs are everywhere from the tulip bulbs poking through the mulch to the increased egg production from the ladies! Kevin and Noodle are preparing to nest as well, taking long walks into the woods to find the perfect spot for a turkey gal to lay.

Spring also means it’s time for chicks! The local Tractor Supply has some in and I succumbed and added several water chickens to the nursery. But here at Owlcatraz we have grown accustomed to hatching a few of our own. This year there are barnevelders, marans, and Easter egger x polish crosses patiently growing. Children (and adults) enjoy the candling process to view the development of the chicks. This evening we candled our blue eggs and were pleased with the result.

At six days old this chick has a heart beat and if you watching closely, you can see it moving ever so slightly. This website has some wonderful insight into embryo development inside the egg. Only fifteen more days to go until hatch day!


Prolapse Vent

Our first real chicken “emergency” occurred on Friday evening after the kids and I returned home. The hen count resulted in a missing hen and after a few minutes of searching, Dirtbike (yes, she’s a she) was found sitting on the ground in a darkened corner of the coop. I picked her up and could immediately feel an (unnatural) large lump near her vent. I brought her inside and was (horrified) to find a bloodied, red and excrement covered lump under her tail feathers. I started a warm bath and began washing away the excrement in the hopes of uncovering the source of Dirtbike’s pain.

The family gathered to help Dirtbike relax.


*Use Caution – following graphics are not for the weak of heart.*

She was obviously uncomfortable and had probably spent the better part of the day in pain. A tell tale egg was found on the floor of the coop (with some blood on it) and was probably Dirtbike’s final legacy left to the family.

In the midst of attempting to clean Dirtbike I contacted my chicken mentor, BigFootFarmer, who reiterated my suspicions that this occurred before or during her egg laying and there might be a need to ease Dirtbike from her misery. Next I checked out the Chicken Chick’s site (she’s basically an encyclopedia of all things chicken).

*Note, it is so important to have a “farm” first aid kit stocked and ready to go. If you don’t have one, get one. You’re going to need it someday.

I continued to clean the area while DirtbikeĀ remained rather sedate during all of the attention. However she continued to lose blood and was unable to stand on her own after a big. The decision was made to say goodbye to one of our founding hens and help her cross the rainbow bridge to that great big chicken coop in the sky.

Photo was taken post bath, outside. Dirtbike had crossed the chicken rainbow bridge.