Thursday, 19 March 2009

Clean knickers

Delilah has become a bit whiffy, what with lying in her own filth for days, so this morning she had a bath. I'm rather glad that she feels too ill to fight me, as I suspect that a healthy Delilah plus a bath would equal me losing an eye. As it was, she settled for giving me a look of pure malice while I washed her drawers.

Delilah is only the second chicken that I have bathed, so this is probably a hideous generalisation, but chooks seem to really enjoy being blow dried. D lay on a towel, eyes closed and lifted her wings as I blasted her with the hairdryer (on a low setting, I had visions of spontaneous combustion otherwise). During all this palaver, I realised that D is actually bald all along her underside. This is a classic symptom of a broody hen, so I suspect that she was going broody. A broody hen doesn't eat or drink very well, and is therefore much more likely to succumb to illness. The mycoplasma would have been in her system, waiting for her to weaken enough for it to take hold. She's giving it a run for its money, though.

After syringing water/medicine into the poorly chook, and shoving her beak into some weetabix until she either ate or suffocated, I went outside to tidy up the healthy girls. Pekins have huge fluffy knickers, and they can easily get covered in minky cloacal poo. Wiping a chickens bum not only feels weird, but doesn't really achieve anything. Think playdoh in a deep pile carpet. Hence, when those knickers need cleaning, out come the scissors.

I donned my pink 'chicken business' glove, armed myself with the scissors and grabbed the first hen. Mabel was less than impressed with my chicken grooming, and her beautifully rounded undercrackers are now severely lopsided. Oops. It isn't an easy task, though, and requires more hands than I actually have. I've had to adapt the technique, and the results are functional but not particularly aesthetic. Grabbing a handful of the poo coated bum fluff, I gingerly trim them below said poo. At the same time, the hen is desperately pulling in the other direction in a bid for freedom. Therefore, when the last feather is snipped, the chook goes bombing up the garden, totally unprepared for the sudden release. Bloody funny to watch.

So now they all have clean underwear, but I'll never make a hairdresser.

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