August 7, 2010

The things we do for these chickens...

As I reported in a recent post, Nutmeg was our third layer.  It seemed as soon as she started, she stopped.  I immediately did the new-chicken-mother freak out, and emailed my chicken mentor, Penny.  Penny tried to ease my fears and said it was probably nothing, but suggested we give Nutmeg a warm water soak, which would help release an egg if one was egg bound.  I had never bathed a chicken before (!), but with Neal's help, I was sure we could do it. 


We gathered up Nutmeg and plopped her in our kitchen sink, which I had filled with warm water.  Penny's instructions had said the water needed to be deep enough to soak her tummy and her vent area.  Our sink wasn't quite deep enough to cover those areas with her standing, so I had to assist a little by pushing down on her backside.

She was amazingly calm, but kept wanting to stand up.  So, as a distraction, I held her butt down with one hand and fed her black oil sunflower seeds out of the other hand.  It worked like a charm.

Penny had suggested we keep her in the water for something like 10 minutes.  Have you ever tried holding a chicken in a water bath for 10 minutes?  It seemed like eternity. Neal and I took turns.

After a while, Nutmeg settled down on her own and actually seemed to be enjoying the spa treatment.

After the required time (maybe not quite 10 minutes!), we took her out and dried her off.  Penny had said the warm water bath should make her pass the egg pretty quickly if she was egg bound, but that didn't happen.  As a last resort, we were instructed to probe her vent area to make sure an egg wasn't stuck and in need of assistance.  Lucky for me, I had recently let my nails grow pretty long and I really didn't think it would be fair to Nutmeg to probe her vent with long nails.  And this is where the photo session ended.

Neal threatened my life if I dared take any photos of him probing a chicken's vent.  I love my husband and my life, so I obliged and just held the chicken wrapped in a towel while he performed exploratory surgery.  Thankfully, there was no egg stuck in Nutmeg's vent.  Neal was afraid Nutmeg would be scared to come near him after their encounter, but all was forgiven and she was back to her normal self within no time. And, she has started laying again! Maybe the bath and the probe was all she needed to shock her system into shape!

The things we will do for these chickens...and for fresh eggs!


AJ-OAKS said...

Oh my gosh all I can do is grin ear to ear with this post! Yes, the things we will do for our animals! Isn't it funny how there is no hesitation when it comes to doing what has to be done? We just step up to the plate and do it.
And what a wonderful hubby Neal is.
Very happy to hear Nutmeg is feeling much better.
Oh, and the pics were great!

Razzberry Corner said...

I've bath one of my hens when she had dirty feet which needed to be bandaged because they had bumblefoot, but she didn't like it one bit! Nutmeg looked much more calm than my Raspberry!

morningbrayfarm said...

You two are just AWESOME. I can just hear Don saying the same thing if we were to have a similar situation here. Too funny. And, I just gotta say it... the knives up on the wall next to the sink might've been freaking Nutmeg out. ;)

Lilla said...

Cindy...once we found out how sick a chicken with a bound egg could become, there was no least not on my part! Thank goodness for Penny's thorough instructions!

Razberry...oh, I've heard about bumblefoot and I hope we never have to deal with that! Nutmeg was amazingly calm.

Justina...I never thought about the knives. Ha, that's funny! Poor Nutmeg.

the7msn said...

Neal is a saint, but I'm sure you've heard that before.

Lilla said...

Linda...Neal has qualified for Sainthood many times, but ssshhh!!! don't tell him I said that!

Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

So funny! Oh, I remember when we had the "bright" idea to give all our chickens baths last Fall. Have you ever tried blow drying down feathers??? It didn't work out so well and our wonderful rooster, Mr. Clyde, was the only recipient of the spa day. Poor Nutmeg. She is laying again so she doesn't have to be given another bath!!
-Staci said...

Y'all did a great job! And Nutmeg looks very pleased with her spa treatment. She's such a pretty girl. I'm happy she started laying for you again. I learned pretty early on that sticking a finger up a chickens butt is a good skill to have :) I'm still laughing at our exchanges that night. You and Neal are good chicken parents for sure!