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)

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Continued from the previous post, " TORTURE". 

Those Pinless Peepers worked.   

They stopped Lil'White from pecking at Lucy, but still allowed enough range of vision for her to shoot me a spiteful glare.   

But I could tell that the Peepers were uncomfortable, and I felt like a real heel for doing this to her.

I gave her about two months - hoping that would be enough time for her feather-picking habit to become a distant memory -- or no memory at all. 

The day I removed the Pinless Peepers, Lil'White took a few steps back and gave me the full-frontal stink-eye. 

Then she shook her plumage indignantly, 
sauntered over to Lucy,  
and promptly resumed her bad habit.  

Sorry, Lil'White. That was your last chance.  

I scooped her up and took her to the mobile coop where the young Nuggets had grown up.  

I placed her inside and locked the door. 

And because Lil'White has no friends, and needs no friends, she settled cheerfully into her cozy private home. 

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

Meanwhile, back at the big coop, all hell was breaking loose. 
I had moved the Nuggets in with the old ladies, expecting them to sort out a pecking order and settle down as a flock.  

But the integration process had gone horribly awry. 

Daisy plotted to make all of their lives miserable. 
She stalked the nuggets from morning to night.
And when she caught them, feathers flew.

Her attacks were relentless. The screams and yelps of her victims were disconcerting.  I hoped that things would mellow out with time, but Daisy just didn't lighten up. 

Then one sunny day, 
as I spent long hours assembling this simple Ikea product on the back deck, 

I noted from across the yard that the flock was unusually calm and quiet.  There was no squawking, no running....  There were no feathers flying.  

Finally, I thought, they've reached an accord.  

That afternoon when I visited the gals, nobody came to greet me. 

Something was wrong, but didn't figure it out until Dorrie turned to look at me.  

Her face was caked with blood.