It has been such a busy summer! In terms of the chickens, right after school ended a fox found his way into my chicken run by prying the fence away from the gate post. My 5 chickens became 3. That was quite disappointing. I had to decide what to do. Three chickens didn't seem to be worth the effort. So, did I want to get more chickens or sell/give them away? I am the kind of person who thinks about things for a long time before acting so I decided to see if I was going to keep having problems with Mr Fox.
A few short weeks after the fox episode I found myself having emergency gall bladder removal. This put me out for most of July. However, during my recovery I saw an ad on Craiglist for some laying hens nearby and decided to get 3 more. It took some time for the flock to adjust to each other but they seem to have their pecking order all worked out now.
We had another chicken emergency when someone in the family didn't remember the chickens were free-ranging in the yard and decided to let our 2 Golden Retrievers loose. Well, they did what retrievers do--caught chickens! By the time I realized what what going on, most of the chickens had run off to hide. DH said one of them was definately injured, she had been in both dogs's mouths and lost a ton of feathers. We looked for a long time and located all but 2--the injured one and the youngest one. Fortunately they both returned as the sun set. Our injured Black Star looked pretty good from a distance and was acting fine, but we didn't trust the other chickens not to peck at her so we caught her and separated her for a bit while she healed. We did find a pretty good size bite under her wing, so I sprayed it with Blue Coat and hoped for the best. She healed well and has returned to the flock with no problems. That was a relief. I didn't want to have to kill her if she got sicker.
I recently discovered that some of the eggs are getting eaten by the chickens. I had noticed some weak shelled eggs and gave them calcium supplements to alleviate the problem. I think that's how the egg eating began-a weak shelled egg probably cracked and they began eating them. I read a tip about putting golf balls in the nests. The idea being the hens would peck them with no luck and eventually give up on pecking at eggs. We shall see what happens.
It wasn't the best year for the garden between the drought and my surgery. Oh well, we got a little food and fortunately we are not dependent upon it.
Tomorrow is my return to work day. Next week school starts. Another season passed.