Week five: Drawing blood

Gigi's nose, between her beak and comb, sports a small scrape. I got this shot by laying on my belly in the run.
Gigi’s nose, between her beak and comb, sports a small scrape. It’s healing nicely after applying some Neosporin.

Sunday started out simply.

With temperatures in the 70s, I planned to re-stain the coop. I also knew the warm weather would be perfect for the chicks to spend the day in the run.

After getting everyone settled, I put on some music and started to paint.

About a half-hour in, a neighbor stopped by with her large golden retriever. I didn’t think anything of it, knowing our dog Charlie loves chasing this dog all around the yard. As I was carrying on a conversation with my neighbor, while painting the inside of the hen house, I heard a crash followed by wild bird screeches. Thinking the chicks were just spooked by the golden retriever, I continued painting.

Nellie has a scrape on her nose, too.
Nellie has a scrape on her nose, too.

A couple hours later, once my neighbor left, I checked in on the girls. As I picked up Nellie, I immediately noticed blood on her beak. It appeared that the skin between her beak and comb was scraped raw. Concerned, I picked up the other two birds, and saw similar injuries on their beaks.

For a moment, I slipped into denial, and thought maybe it was just watermelon on their faces. But after dabbing Nellie’s beak with a wet washcloth, I realized they all were scraped up a bit.

My theory is that when the golden retriever and my dog excitedly approached the coop, the birds all lost it and freaked out. I imagine they flew up into a cloud of wing feathers, and perhaps ran into the wire mesh that kept them safe from the dogs.

Their injuries gave me a chance to break out the first aid kit. I took a small amount of Neosporin (with no painkiller in it) and gently rubbed it on their beaks. Surprisingly, they did not fight me.

When I checked a couple hours later, their scrapes already appeared to be on the mend.

Matt has teased me about having a comprehensive first aid kit just for the chickens. But today, I’m grateful I took the time to pull it together.

Playing Florence Nightingale to my chicks is a worthy trade off.

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