Our pretty little Welsummer laid her very first egg today. It is tiny and lovely but weighed in at a surprising 47 grams. Clementine’s first egg was only 41 grams.
It’s only slightly larger than the other two “first eggs” that I’ve kept in the fridge for over a year. The old ones are light and seemingly hollow now. They sound like glass when tapped. I hope I never break one in the house. I’m sure they’re rank.
My body is broken and I’m ready for bed. But this weekend was wholly productive and I’m thrilled about it. Yesterday I got the cool season veg all planted and today we got the chicken coop addition installed.
It really sucked trying to do anything in the coop. I couldn’t stand up and had to work hunched over. I bumped my head frequently and had to crawl in shitty coop dirt to get at anything under the box part. I bitched quite a bit about it so Gordon decided to build something for the coop to sit on. I was skeptical that our starter coop that we bought used on craigslist could handle being lifted like that after rotting in our muddy soil for the last year and a half. But he planned and built it anyway.
The timely addition acted as a halfway house for Marigold after her injury and then a time-out pen for Rosie the bully.
It was quite a pain to dig out all of the chicken flooring in order to rip off the hardware cloth that was stapled to the inside of the bottom 2x4s. But now there’s a load of fantastic compost on a tarp in the garden.
With much effort we were able to put that big heavy decrepit thing on top of the new. Gordon ended up having to cover one board with a new one because it was split, but other than that it went OK. The chickens were annoyingly interested and Clementine kept flying up into the coop while we worked.
Her existence precarious and her condition a mystery, Marigold somehow made it to morning anyway. Warmth, love, a few droppersful of water, and her own strength saw her through. The morning found her a good bit better: able to stand and able to drink when her beak was dipped.
Gordon went to the feed store and picked up some antibacterial eye ointment for chickens per the suggestions (and consensus diagnosis of a pecking injury) of all my new best friends on the Backyard Chickens forums. As soon as I wiped an ointment covered cotton ball across her crusty sealed eye, it opened.
I took her to work with me, hiding her under my desk in a box and only revealing her presence to everybody. I made sure she got water (with electrolytes via gatorade) and eventually she ate scrambled eggs.
It’s now three days after I found her dying. Today she was well enough to be a chicken again and she spent the day in her own coop, mingled with the bitches a bit later in the evening, and is spending tonight in the regular coop.
Rosie tried to keep her out at bed time so I had to intervene with a few prison-like threats.
Tomorrow Rosie is going into solitary. Going to try and reorganize this pecking order.
Either Rosie severely pecked her in the eye, she contracted bird flu, a weasel got to her, or she has some other thing I haven’t read about yet.
I don’t even know what say or think. I posted on the Backyard Chickens forum and googled probably too much and not enough. My head hurts. I think I’m going to search for something that validates me going down to the basement and wrapping that ouchie swollen face with a warm wet compress.
I have no idea what to do.
Looking at this makes me think I should just let the poor dear go. How can she come back from this?
I was able to give her a few droppersful of water. She seemed a bit more alert. Her other eye was open and looking around when she wasn’t falling asleep. Both sides of her face are swollen but the closed eye side is worse. Also maybe bruised. Maybe my cleaning with a damp cloth bruised her. Either way, she looked less dead, not more. So I’m a bit hopeful.
I held her for a while. Someone posted to me that she may have some terrible respiratory illness and I need to contact the state vet if she dies.
My clothes are in the washer and I’ve thorougly washed my hands, face, arms, and neck. Yes a shower seems in order, but no I didn’t get into one. But I did bleach questionable surfaces.
God bless you, Marigold. May we see each other in the morning.