13 March 2008

Into the Wild.

Well, the chickens have fluffed up, and look like real chickens now! We took them for their first run outside, which meant I was able to get some decent photos (while trying to stop them running off and hiding behind things). All up we have 10 chickens out of the 12 eggs, which is pretty good I think. The last one hatched at about 7am this morning. The last two eggs are still in the incubator, but I would be very surprised if they hatched at this late stage.


Out of the ten, unfortunately there are 3 little ones that are having trouble standing, like the one in the picture above. I believe they have what is commonly known as splayed or spraddle leg, where their legs stick out a little rather than being directly under them. I gleaned this info from the Backyard Poultry Forum, where everyone is most helpful. The treatment for this is to 'hobble' their legs, to pull them back into line, which we have done. This web page gives instructions on how to do it. After 24 hours or so, when they didn't seem to be showing much improvement, we took them into a vet (a bird vet specifically), and they concurred with what we were doing, and were very impressed with the hobbling we'd done. She helped redo them a little, and the worse one, poor little Tiger, so named for the little black stripes on his head, has his feet taped to a piece of cardboard, as they were too out of line for the simple hobble to work. She was hopeful that they would at least recover enough to be able to get themselves around, and since they are pets and egg birds, we will be happy with that.

She said to leave the hobbles on for 3 days, then take them off, so we'll have to see how they go.

They are beautiful birds though, despite the stress of worrying about these three. I can happily just sit and watch them scratching around and pecking at things. I'm so glad we decided to get them. DD is really enjoying it too, and loved playing with them outside. If she walked away from us, half them would rush after her, following her.

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