Good to see our featherless, dog-attacked chook is feeling better. Goldie has ventured out of the nest box of her own accord and is pecking around the garden with the moorhen. Hope she doesn’t get chilled. Not so warm out there today.
She was out again with the others and seems fine. Late afternoon whilst sitting in the studio I suddenly realised it was windy and snowing. I could see the chooks looking unhappy so guided them back to the chicken house but Goldie was nowhere to be seen. After investigating every corner of the garden I finally found her hiding under a bush. With snowflakes falling all around we walked slowly back to the chicken shed together and she finally joined the others tucking into some corn. It really has been a time-consuming task taking care of her but she is doing well considering and hopefully will gain strength with each day.
It has been suggested that I provide a knitted jumper for her to keep her warm. Unfortunately, this can cause much discomfort and irritation for a chicken, plus they can easily injure themselves if they get their toes caught in it. Chickens also need to be able to preen, dust-bathe, to stay healthy, and if a woollen jumper becomes damp this too can cause issues, including mites, lice, etc. Also being wrapped in a knitted jumper prevents their natural ability to moderate their own body temperature. Apparently, they can withstand lower temps. and as long as they have a dry, draft-free home they should be okay.
Years ago, I had to investigate this situation as we were given a rescue chicken that turned out to be a cockerel. He was a handsome boy but he kept pestering our girls and they started to lose the feathers from their backs. Goldie is not only bald but she also has many wounds and stitches, so the situation is slightly different, but at that time, I learned about and purchased some ‘saddles’, also known as ‘chicken aprons’. They are made from a canvas-type material and protect the backs of chickens from a cockerel’s feet. The material sits just under the wings and across the back of the chook. If the temp. plummets and Goldie insist on venturing out, then I may pop one on her temporarily, but am hoping it won’t be necessary.