- I find it incredibly therapeutic to listen to their cooing.
- I think they are so funny.
- It helps me keep a handle on their general health. If someone is out of balance you can usually tell within 5 minutes of watching them.
In tonight's case I could tell immediately that something was wrong with Buffy, our big Mama Buff. She was sitting all by herself looking very troubled. (This is different then sitting by yourself looking very content). I walked over to her and picked her up and found a large string of stool covered grass coming from her poor little butt. When I pulled, quite a bit of poo came out (I mean, we are talking inches). I cleaned her up and set her back down, and while she seemed better she just didn't seem like herself.
It was close to dark though so I let them all go to roost in their coop and locked them in for the night. I called Mr. Nick, who was on his way home, and had him pick up an at home enema kit (which, in his words, is one of the more embarrassing things he has had to buy in our ten years together.) When he got home we went back out to the coop to get Buffy. I had no idea chickens were such heavy sleepers! Mr. Nick walked right behind her picked her up off her roost, tucked her under his arm and walked out the door. No one, not one single chicken, woke up. Talk about a home invasion!
We brought Buffy up to the kitchen and warmed up some olive oil in the enema kit by running it under hot water. Ever so gently we inserted it into her butt, and squeezed. Then, we waited. While we were waiting we feed her some yummy yogurt with lots of probiotics.
20 minutes later she started clucking and then WOOSH! Relief! We let her sit for 10 more minutes and pass one more movement and then, almost immediately, she was herself again. We washed her off, dried her up with our hair dryer (which believe it or not, I think she kind of liked), and then took her back to the coop.
As easily as he snatched her up Mr. Nick placed her right back on the roost between two sleeping chickens and shut the door behind him. And all is well on the farm again. Tomorrow morning I'll give everyone some warm water with molasses and a big generous helping of yogurt to make sure no one else gets constipated. I guess with the changing weather their drinking habits are changing, or there's a chance she got into something, I don't know that I'll ever know. But I do know that just 5 minutes of watching the chickens every day saved me what would have most likely become a dead chicken....now to bleach everything in the kitchen.