Thursday, January 24, 2013

Miss Orpington's Update: Day One

The house dropped to 40 degrees overnight, but Miss Orpington did not seem to mind. Compared to the forecast of negative 30 degrees with the wind chill outside, I am sure it seemed a bargain to her. She was alert when Sean awoke the girls for school this morning at 5am and stoked the coals back to life. He offered her water and she drank a good amount before she decided that she'd had enough.

After this morning's chore of feeding the animals- as quickly as our frozen fingers would work- was completed, Sean dragged the frozen water containers into the bathroom to begin the hour long process of thawing them. I know it is necessary, but it seems so futile in the light of how quickly they refreeze upon going back outdoors. I spread some extra hay around the inside of the coop and outside along the ground. The silly, impervious ducks still insist on laying outside, despite the frigid air. I suppose if I had a down covering nearly head to toe, I would have minded the temperatures better, myself.

The goats did not budge from snuggling together in the corners of their stalls and even Jasmine decided to stay inside for the morning. The barn is notably warmer than the air outside, but without heat, it cannot be called warm by any stretch of the imagination. We decided to leave the doors to their stalls closed today and fed them their hay inside, instead.

Back inside, while the water containers were thawing, Sean and I offered Miss O. more water and some pieces of apple. She declined to eat, but drank with some appetite. Her eyes were still gummed closed, so we took her back into the bathroom and I dripped drops of warm water over them to help to loosen the dried crust of blood. I do not want to pick it off in the fear that the crust is not simply dried blood from her comb injuries. I don't think that she has damage to her eyes, themselves, but I don't want to take the chance of opening up any wound that has begun healing. After a few minutes of soaking the skin and gentle blotting and wiping, one eye was freed and opened slightly. I worked on the other for a few minutes, but it did not open, yet. We'll repeat wetting the area and wiping gently again this evening. At least, she can see out of one eye. We rinsed the healing cuts on her neck near her ear and her damaged comb with more topical antibiotic solution. Miss O. was not as stoic with our vetting today, but she did not appear to be in pain, either. She clucked at us and moved her head away from my fingers, but she did not thrash about or cry out in alarm. We are trying to be as gentle about helping her as we can. It would be so convenient if she could speak and tell us how she is feeling and where it hurts.

I took some pictures of the injuries when we had finished with this morning's ministrations. And, since so many of you have commented asking about an update on facebook, I took video, too. I will post more pictures as she heals, but probably not every day- only as there are noticeable changes.

I took this video this morning... Machias and Tasmanian wanted their 15 seconds of fame, too.

By lunch time, Miss O. had settled in for a nap. I am sure that she is not pleased with her small pen, but we feel that it is best to keep her confined to a small area to avoid lots of moving around on her part. I am not keeping food or water inside the pen, but am offering it to her every few hours. I think that since she is not able to see very well, she'd most likely dump it and make a wasteful mess right now. As she recovers and can see better, I will have dishes of both available. Miss O. won't be returning outside until she heals. Chickens will cannibalize one another, especially when they see bloody bits.

At least, she'll have some company in the form of lazy cats. When we first brought her inside, smelling of blood, all the kitties contemplated whether she'd make a fine meal or not. Now, they have taken to napping beside her. I'd rather think of it as "them keeping her company" instead of "them guarding their dinner". As long as she stays on the inside of the pen and they remain on the outside, I think it will work out just fine.
Despite the temperatures, Sean got an idea while he was carrying the ice pieces freed from inside the water buckets. I thought it was interesting enough to brave going outside again to take a few pictures of it. What do you think?


I think they look really cool.

Thanks for stopping in for a visit today. I'm glad you did. Sonja ♥


  1. I am so glad that you shared this, Sonja. It is good to see that she is drinking. I use coconut oil on wounds; it might be good for her comb and eyes, since it is antibacterial and soothing.

    I love the ice nest!
    ~Blessings Miss O. Get well soon.

  2. poor little sweet pea! I went back and read the previous post to learn more about what you plan to do to prevent this from happening again. I hope you're able to find new homes for the roosters before this happens to another hen - free on craigslist is a good option, or

    It might be a good idea to put her food and water in the cage with her. If you can get one of those plastic food and waterers for chicks you can easily make a strap on the top with some duct tape and then you can hang it from the top of the cage with some kind of clip or wire. When my Maran was sick, I did that and it was great. She was able to eat and drink when ever she wanted and didn't have to wait for me to walk in and offer her anything. Sometimes they're so shaken up that the presence of a person, even when offering them food, can be too much for them and cause them to not eat the food you're offering. I can send you a pic of the waterer if you'd like. Good luck with your little lady! I know she's super appreciative of your care!


  3. I'm glad to see her walking around and drinking water. Those are good signs! Sounds like you are giving her the best possible treatment. Chickens are really quite amazing at healing, so I'm sure she will pull through. I love the cats in the video. Too funny! And it's sweet how they sleep by the cage :)

  4. I am so glad she has one of her eyes open. That has to help her feel more safe. I think you have some quite handsome vet assistants on your hands there. I am glad she is not scared of them.