Meet Blackie. She’s boss hen; the leader of the pack.
She’s also pretty odd at times as you can probably see.
And already Blackie has some stories to tell.
One day, for some strange reason, she decided my mosaic work shelves were the ONLY place to hide and lay. My tiles were scratched out everywhere. Even while I was reorganising and blocking the shelves off she was looking for a good spot, if not on the shelves then maybe the rubbish bin would do! When shooed on, she tried the back of the car behind the fridge. And then in a box of spiky aloes. Who knows how a black hens mind works!
If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be nursing a sick chook in the lounge room, I would not have believed you but it’s true!
A few weeks ago, guzzler that she is, Blackie scoffed down some rice Steph fed them and as a result it stuck in her throat. Coughing turned to wheezing, and I turned to Dr Google.
No… def not a virus – fit as a fiddle and getting about.
But a blockage was more than likely. ‘Feed the hen small pieces of bread soaked in vegetable oil and massage the throat’ it said. ‘Right!’ I said.
Well, oily bread was totally irresistible for the flock so I bundled her up in a hand towel and we headed inside. Blackie isn’t one for being held; she’s far too important for that, but after 5 mins or so I swear she was near to dozing off. And after 10 mins of massage and a final oily dose she was off, and by the next day totally healed. No more gluggy rice for her.
And it goes on – today she decided that she should be inside the feed tub, and would have stayed there had I not bundled her out. Funny hen.
The promise of a cooler day and some free hours enticed us down to the SW corner of the block to weed this morning.
<The dreaded succulent is creeping its way down towards the creek and I’m determined to stop it in its tracks and then work my way back uphill.>
There’s nothing the hens like more than to accompany us into the forest. They don’t wander far, spending most of the time within a few metres of where we’re working, scratching about and feasting on insects in the leaf litter. I’m sure they think we’re scratching too 🙂
As those know who follow me on FB, we’ve had the pox. Scary as it may sound, it’s apparently quite common in poultry; spread via mosquitoes, leaving hens immune. Dr Google suggested it’d spread through the flock, but simply to ensure they had good food & water, and plenty of TLC. None of that was difficult here at Hyde Rd!
Further searching led me to a brew that I adapted. The hens LOVE it and with a handful each day for 2 weeks combs were red and pox free, and feathers glowing.
Since then we’ve cut back to twice weekly feeds as a general tonic (and treat). Even seeing me with trays in hand is enough to send the girls into a state of excitement; and if they’re off scratching a call will generally bring them running.
So here’s the recipe. This makes enough for about 6 feeds for 6 hens; I freeze in separate lots. Everything is adaptable!
In a big bowl mix together:
2 x 350ml cupfuls of good quality scratch mix – we use the Watson & Williams cracked grains/pellets mix
6 dsp poultry vitamins – we use Perfect Poultry
1 x 350ml cup of rolled oats
(+ any other seeds you have – quinoa etc)
1 grated apple with seeds removed (don’t feed chooks apple seeds)
1 good tblsp cod liver oil
1 dsp hemp oil
2 heaped tblsp natural yoghurt (homemade is best!)
2 cooked and crumbled egg yolks