True stories of a small flock of remarkable individuals -- and other critters.

Monday, January 6, 2014


Continued from the previous post, JAILBIRDS 
(click here to go there)

In the previous episode, I approached the chicken run to find Dorrie looking like this:

The whole flock looked up at me as if I were Jessica Fletcher suddenly appearing at the crime scene.

I didn't know what had happened to Dorrie, but I had a hunch.

My guess:  That Daisy had stirred up the youngsters into such a tizzy that Dorrie nailed her beak into the hardware cloth - the tightly woven fencing that surrounds the run. 

I was instantly furious with Daisy, although I knew I shouldn't be.

I scooped Dorrie into my arms to take a closer look.  Fresh blood and dried blood....this must have happened hours ago.  

I needed another pair of hands to clean Dorrie's wound, and I needed another human to tell me what to do next.  Since I was all alone and it was after 5:00 on a Friday and my vet, Rosario was unavailable, I packed Dorrie into an Epson printer box and drove her to Tufts Veterinary Emergency Room, only a few minutes away.

Two young residents attended to Dorrie. 
I was worried that the top of her beak was missing. 
Once she was cleaned up, we could see that the injury wasn't as bad as it looked. 
She had shaven off the front and sides of her beak, but it was not so bad that it wouldn't grow back eventually.  
Dorrie was the first chicken that the doctors had worked with. 
They thought she was very sweet.

They gave her some hydration and sent us home with antibiotics. 

That night I placed Dorrie on the roost with her flock. 
But first, I moved Daisy out. 

(to be continued)


  1. You are such a dear. I must remember to save my printer boxes : )

  2. Good thing you have those extra coops to serve as Jail Time Out.

  3. Naughty Dorrie!! Of course this problem all starts with naughty Lil White!

  4. Phew, I'm glad it wasn't as bad as it looked. Seems like that's usually the case with chickens. If they get one little peck on the comb their whole head gets bloody!

  5. I can see Daisy keeping Little White company! Keep the posts coming, we need more news. Glad Dorrie is going to be okay.

  6. I have to think that loosing the cuticle of her beak must feel like loosing a finger/toenail. Poor Dorrie! And what luck to have medical care for your poultry so near! I have to drive 150 miles (round trip) to get care for my geese.

    I do hope this story is a triptych, because I am with Kathy above: "Cliff hangers!"


  7. Ugh. Flock politics. Hopefully, the ladies will find pecking order they can all agree on and the peace will be restored. Good luck with that beak. Stevie @

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  9. A friend of mine integrates new chickens with existing ones by sneaking the new ones into the perch while the existing ones are sleeping. She maintains that the following day, the new chickens are accepted as having always been there with no fuss.

    I wonder if anyone else has tried this?

  10. This week, I read and reviewed your book on my blog. I enjoyed it very much, somewhat to my surprise since chickens are not usually one of my interests. I am now a follower of your blogs. Thank you for a lovely read!

  11. My experience with integrating younger chickens, is to give everyone lots and lots of space. When the older ones chase off the younger ones, they can get away (as they tended to be faster and more nimble). My yard looked like a chicken west side story for quite a long time, and I cooped them separately. Once the younger ones are about as full grown and filled out, they are finally used to each other (though the older birds will still give a bossy peck now and then). I noticed also that when I had two roosters, they seemed to keep the peace. That was the easier young pullet integration I went through (the roosters were very curious of young chicks/pullets, and very amiable- not like mean old hens at all!). I was surprised that there were few pecking order scuffles, and if there was it was from a huffy broody hen keeping a protective bubble around her chick.

  12. I love your blog! I never thought chickens could be so entertaining. My wife likes to collect chickens made of metal, porcelain, etc. (also one of concrete), but has forbidden live chickens in the yard.

  13. Poor Dorrie, I hope she is back to normal. I just loved reading you book, its one of those books that you want to reread every year.

  14. I have read through your entire blog. Your stories of your girls are so wonderful. Reminds me of my mother's girls. I can't remember each of their names but I know that poor Mildred had to wear a pretty pink gingham dress last summer because of a pecking problem and my mom didn't want her to get sunburned. I told her she needs to make a matching bonnet next time. :-)