I’ve got another update for you on how our injured chicken, Lady, is doing. She hurt her left leg back at the end of July and had to be removed from the flock. Initially she couldn’t walk at all and the other chickens were attacking her. We put her in a dog crate with food and water in the garage, and later moved that crate to the chicken coop. Chickens do better when they’re in a group. Even though she has to be separate for her own safety, we still wanted Lady to be around the other chickens.
When I last did an update, Lady was starting to put some weight back on and was able to walk a bit in the yard. However, it was more like stumbling and she would often step on her own feet (as if she couldn’t feel her left leg). Since then she has had a lot of improvement. She is back to a healthy weight and can now walk normally in the yard. We continue to let her out nearly every day so that she can get some exercise and build some strength.
In fact, she has been getting around so well that she found her way into our garage one evening! I went out to get her after she had spent some time in the yard exercising. As soon as I stepped into the garage, I could hear her somewhere in there. I found her behind the bikes, and she proceeded to walk around like she owned the place.
Since I lasted posted about Lady, we have also put a roosting pole in her crate so she can practice getting up on one and balancing on it. Currently, she won’t get up there on her own. But when we put her up there she has no problem staying on it and will often sleep there.
She looks like she’s posing for me in the above picture, but really she was yelling at me for taking her picture at night. I guess it was kind of rude of me to take pictures of her as she was nodding off to sleep.
The other great news is that she has started laying eggs again! Typically, she is laying an egg about every other day. When she first hurt her leg, she went about a month without laying an egg. This shows that she is definitely on the mend, since she is able to handle producing eggs again.
The last hurdles we have are getting her to where she will get up on the regular roosting poles and reintroducing her into the flock. The roosting poles in the coop are pretty high in the air, because this is what the chickens prefer (it makes them feel safe at night). We need to make sure she is strong enough to get up to the roosting poles, and down, without hurting herself.
As far as reintroducing her to the flock, it’s going to be tricky. The best strategy looks to be spraying all of the chickens with vinegar water, including Lady, and placing her on the roosting poles at night with them (it will have to be a warm night so I don’t freeze them!). The vinegar water will help mask individual smells, so they can’t tell one chicken from the other as well. They are also more accepting/calmer at night, so there is a better chance of them allowing her to assimilate back into the group. I’ll let you know how that goes.