Thursday, July 5, 2012

Physically Challenged Chickens

Are we soft?

We started our chicken adventure a little over a year ago.  In that original flock we had one “handicapped” hen, Nugget.  Not sure what happened or when, but she has a hip/leg issue.  Nugget limps along, cannot run and can semi-fly if needed.   She developed slower than the rest, was the smallest, that’s why we called her Nugget, but has since caught up and is laying about 1 egg per day.  She cannot lay in the nesting box with both her legs underneath her; she actually has the bad one sticking out to the side.  She’s amazing.   Nugget is very sweet, but very skittish since she’s picked on and the lowest on the roost.   Nugget loves it when I get a scoop of scratch and hand feed her.  She prefers me to hand feed it rather than pick it off the ground.  She’ll actually follow me around the run talking to me and wait until I share this special time with just her.  I love all my chickens, but I have a very special place just for her.

Our new additions, Class of 2012 brought another handicapped cockerel, Elmer.  He suffered with what we thought was pasty butt.  We diligently cleaned him up several times a day for weeks.  Hence, the name Elmer (as in Elmer’s Glue/ paste).  Lucky us, he turned out to be a boy, so the name stuck. (No pun intended).  He has some other things going on.  No tail, walks wobbly, and still suffers with poo stuck to his bum.  It never goes away.  He eats, drinks, is the same size as the others, flies around, and really acts like a normal chicken.  Until last Friday night, seemed to be doing fine.  He either landed wrong, or got the crap kicked out of him by one of the larger dominant flock.  Elmer could barely walk, his right leg was usable, but I could tell he was in pain.  He spent the better part of the weekend laying in the shade.  Come Saturday afternoon he was eating and drinking, but still favoring his sore leg.  We were very worried, but since he was eating and drinking, we thought we’d give him a couple more days and see.

No one wants to have to put an animal down, but I don’t want them to suffer either.  Nature is an amazing thing.  It can be harsh, but the resiliency in animals is truly something.  We spent the day at The Compound yesterday, and lo and behold, one of the first chickens to run around was Elmer!  Every time I’d take a look, he was eating, dusting, or just goofing off.  Whew, I’m so glad.  He’s another one that will likely end up at The Compound until his last breath.  We’re just soft…


  1. I'm a big softy too. I love my birds. I had one that developed a scissor beak as she grew. Like you I took special care of her but a time came when she just couldn't keep up with nutrition so as she got weaker external parasites (fowl mites) took over and she was too weak to over come it. They came in with the wild birds to the mans feeder. She eventually died and now I have been battling with mites on all the rest of my chickens for months. I think I finally have them under control hopefully but it has taken me since February.

    1. I think I remember you posting about your scissor beaked hen. We try our best, and at least they are loved, no matter how long their lives might be.

      What are you using on the mites? I don't have that problem at this point, but would like to know what to do should it happen.

  2. Poultry dust every 7 to 10 days. It is permethrin dust but it is only controlling them not eradicating them. I am going to try bathing them with sulfaden dog shampoo (watered down) when I get a good stretch of hot weather. I have to power wash the whole coop when I do.


We love to hear from you! Thanks for taking the time to stop by.