It’s been a while since I blogged, so let me open with this:  in May, I became the mother of six-week-old chicks.  And my life has not been the same since.

It’s July now, it’s hot, and my babies are almost mature–in about six weeks, I should begin to see my first home-grown eggs.  But first I have to make sure all my hens survive.

Summer in the clink.

See Rosa’s tail feathers? See Dottie’s? THAT’S BECAUSE THEY’RE GONE!

Sweet, puffy Dottie. She’s a Wynadotte.

Summer can still hang out with her peeps, she just can’t pluck ’em.

Here’s my latest chicken adventure: 

So Summer is in the dog house. Literally. If you look at the picture of Dottie (the one in the pink saddle), you’ll see that her tail feathers have disappeared. Yep. Gone, and nothing but tender vent skin showing (the vent is where the eggs–and other biological byproducts–exit the hen). About four days ago, I saw blood, and that’s a red alert when it comes to chickens because they are NOT colorblind. They will peck at anything red, so I had to use my emergency first aid kit to paint Dottie’s bum blue (and my hands, my shirt, and my arms). I hoped that would take care of the problem, but no, the skinless area seemed to get bigger every morning, and I knew Summer–the number one Hen and Dottie’s BFF, paradoxically–was the guilty party. She plucks all the hens, but especially Dottie and Rosa (the hen in the blue saddle).

So–yesterday I dragged out one of our dog crates (thank heaven we have mastiffs, hence the LARGE crates), and put it in the chicken pen. Being the number one hen, Summer was the first to check out the meal worms I had dropped inside, and before she knew what happened, she was in solitary. Only it’s not REALLY solitary, because all the other hens can see her, talk to her, and nuzzle her. She has food, water, and watermelon, but that didn’t stop her from working herself into a tizzy. Combined with the awful heat, she paced and hollered until she was walking around open-mouth, gasping for breath, wings drooping, eyes as blank as a mother of hyperactive preschoolers. I gave her a bowl of ice cubes and told her to calm down, it would be over in two weeks–IF she stopped plucking the other hens.

Things went okay until all the other hens trooped off to the coop to go to bed, and Summer couldn’t go. I put a stick inside the crate for her to roost on, I covered her with towels (allowing room for ventilation), and told her goodnight. She yelled at me until I went around the corner, and I watched her from my bedroom window until she settled down and went to sleep.

Today she seems to have adjusted to her time-out hut, and it’s not going to hurt her, as long as she doesn’t work herself into a panic. Being a chicken mom is a lot like being a human mom. Hubby kept calling me “mean,” but I told him I had to protect all the other girls. I’m not mean, I’m practicing tough love. Someone’s gotta do it. :-/-

Can I get a witness?




  1. Edith

    I don’t know anything about chickens. Is the plucking a form of affection that went off the rails?

    • Angie

      I don’t think so. I think they pluck and eat feathers because the base of the feather has a blood supply–and a feather is protein, like keratin. Sometimes it signals boredome or a protein deficiency, but I give them LOTS of worms and lots of toys, so I think it’s just a habit with Summer. Bad habit that needs to be broken.

  2. Rebekah Love Dorris

    Good for you! She sounds like a drama queen. We have two older hens who love to torment the younger pullets. Poor henpecked girls. So many cliches take on new meaning when you get chickens!

  3. Amy

    That’s a lovely shade of Tiffany blue on Dottie’s bum, Angela. You’re a good chicken mama!

  4. Mocha with Linda

    Oh my goodness! Finally got a chance to read this.

    And I thought your adventure with macarons was challenging! LOL

    You won’t get me near a chicken coop. I was traumatized in middle school by my grandmother and her chickens.

  5. Gezelle

    All God’s creations are amazing so individual, Some people think “oh it’s just a horse or a chicken or a dog. There is nothing wrong, but how do they tell us if they have had a trauma or experience in the past. Or if something is hurting. I don’t know about you but when I pluck my eyebrows or face it hurts. But for chickens it is a pecking order. Especially with the males. Poor thing had a separation anxiety. Something from maybe past. You were smart the towel seemed to be comforting to her. let me tell you about a filly the Lord brought to me and what happened when we were traveling and the Lord called us back to CO from FL. Was at an auction and a nurse mare and a filly and colt were rushed by at the end of the sale. Where did that filly go. So I go around back and they took her off the nurse mare not weened, put her in a huge corral by herself with corn hay. The Lord woke me up that night and said “go get her” me “Lord I already have four” L “do I not feed them?” me “oh yes Lord, I’m going in the morning. ty Lord” Not sure I mentioned she was 3-4 mo old. She was terrified, Over the years gave her lots of prayers, love and bible oil YL. You think that demon is gone till the situation arises. She loads the trailer great for five days, but what happens in the evening is quite interesting to me. Happened a couple times, she would become paralyze in the fear. She would not get out. Just breaks my heart. At these Horse Motels where you stop, “oh yeah I’m a cowboy I can get her out” She grew up on the Holy Spirit and the word. I prayed on her sang gospel to her and it would drop off. But there was one time nothing worked. They had to put a lead on both sides, so I think this guy prayed about it and we put her in first. When she saw the boys leaving and she could turn, by the way she is now six, never a problem again. But we have to remember to see it thru God’s eyes with what is really going on. Guys picked up crops, told them I would knock them on their buts if they hit her. One guy so amazing that loves the lord so much she walked in and walked out with him no problem, amen


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