Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas portraits, an injured bird and an old angel in a fake tree

It was a busy Sunday. Getting the house cleaned and ready for the official 2008 family Christmas portraits, cooking dinner for the hungry hordes, and wrapping all the Christmas gifts so the nosy little ones wouldn't see them lurking in the closets and various hiding places. I was so busy that I didn't take the time to go outside and investigate when I heard a god-awful commotion in the backyard sometime in mid-afternoon. I wrote it off as hens challenging each other over the last remaining specks of green in the yard.

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When I went to the chicken coop on Monday morning, I discovered the result of all the commotion. Little Sparrow, one of my two Speckled Sussex hens, had most likely been attacked by a hawk. I saw that her feathers were unnaturally ruffled up around her neck and checked her out. She had a 1/2-inch deep by 1 1/2-inch wide open wound on the back of her neck. Then I noticed the dried blood on the roost and she was missing a lot feathers around the wound. Obviously, the other hens had been pecking at it. As all you other chicken keepers know, they would eventually kill her if she wasn't removed.

I took her into the house and washed the wound as well as I could and then squeezed some Neosporin into it. I kept her separated in a small dog cage inside the coop under the heat lamp the rest of the day. But when it came time for the hens to go to roost, she became so agitated trying to get to the roost that I was afraid she would do herself more harm. I brought her into the enclosed porch and covered the cage with an old quilt that I had used for the brooder.

She seems to be holding her own and even laid an egg sometime during the night or early morning hours. She is drinking, but didn't eat the oatmeal that I made for her this morning. I treated her again and it looked a little better, but not closing up like I had hoped it would. I really hope I don't lose her. I'm going to try letting her out with the other birds today and watch her carefully. I'll keep her separated at night when the others are most likely to pick on her.

With all the drama going on, I almost forgot to say that Sunday was my first dozen-egg day! Yay for the girls!

On a lighter note, the Christmas portrait session went as usual. Anyone who has ever tried taking group pictures of small children knows how much fun that can be. Out of 168 snapshots, I managed to get 27 that were actually usable. This is the one group shot of all five that made the cut.

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Fannie, over at This Isn't What I Ordered, had to retire her angel of twenty years and that inspired me to show you my tired little angel who I got from Avon at least twenty-five years ago. I keep thinking I will get one of those snazzy, fancy-schmancy angels that you see everywhere with the ornate wings and flowing dresses, but I just can't seem to get rid of my simple little girl angel. She seems right for our tree.

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A woman in Bellefontaine, Ohio made this curly wool sheep ornament.

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Amy - "Twelve Acres" said...

You're getting a dozen eggs a day??? How unfair is that? I'm so verklempt! I'm lucky to get 3 eggs a day. Yes, I'm definitely going to have to get more winter layers in the spring. My Australorps are great layers when they are laying, but they're on strike right now due to the weather. I'm so jealous Susan!

Little Sparrow appears to be on the mend. I'm sure she'll enjoy the yard time today and it may even help her improve. It's surprising she laid an egg. Makes me want some Sussex even more now. What a good girl!

You're doing a great job nursing her back to health.

Susan said...

So far it's been only one dozen-egg day! Mostly it's 9, 10 or 11. I thought Australorps were supposed to be good winter layers? I almost got them and changed my mind for whatever reason I can't remember. You need to get out there in the coop and have a stern talk with the ladies! How are you going to do all that holiday baking if they don't step it up?

I don't know how great a job I'm doing with Sparrow. I think it's pure luck. All I can say is "Luck, be a lady tonight!"

Ruth said...

Congrats on the first dozen! Poor Sparrow though, that's rough. Sounds as though you're doing the best and most you can.

Look at those adorable grandbaby faces! I think that's more unfair than a dozen eggs a day. :( You've got 5 and I've got none.

One day, one day!

Sentimental angels are the best. Don't lose her.

Susan said...

Ruth, you have to start young to get lots of grandbabies before you're sixty! lol I was 22 when I had the first one, so there you go.

Sparrow is doing better it seems, so we'll take it a day at a time.

Our little angel will be with us as long as I'm here, I promise.

VioletSky said...

I like your simple angel better than the ornate sparkly ones.

Poor Sparrow - such a dangerous life!

Susan said...

Thanks, VioletSky, me too. I think she looks pure.

Sparrow seems to be doing fine. She's out there pecking and scratching with the rest of them. I'm hoping for a good outcome.

Amy - "Twelve Acres" said...

And how is the patient doing today? I hope she's improving.

I have to tell you that I finally gave up and put a light in the coop on a timer that will extend their daylight to 14 hours. Now I have to give them about a week or so to kick back into laying gear. My girls are so spoiled and well cared for, they better start producing more than just 2 eggs a day!