Yes, you read that correctly. My girls had spa day.
Chickens do a very good job at keeping themselves clean and in top shape. But sometimes they need just a little extra help to maintain that good form.
If you are a regular follower, you'll remember I blogged a while back about Ginger needing corrective shoes. She's pigeon toed. She'll frequently stand with her feet so crossed that she'll have one foot on top of the other. And I'm guessing that because of this, she's not big on scratching. She'll daintily brush a leave out of her way to see if there is anything under it. But as far as really moving dirt, nope. That's not her thing. And so her toe nails don't wear down naturally. They grow so long that I can hear her walking behind me on the patio, click, click, click. And then I know, it's time to trim her nails.
I hate doing it because she hates having it done. But I really don't see any alternatives. If she's in a pickle of a mood, I'll wait till after dark and pluck her off the roosting bar, wrap her in a towel and give her a quick trim. But in the summer, it's not dark till after 9pm and she's not really drowsy until closer to 10pm which is kind of late for me.
So today, I scooped her up and she knew what was coming and kicked and fought at first. But I talked to her softly and tell her that I'll do it as quickly as possible and she quickly calmed down. Snip, snip, snip with a pair of dog toe nail clippers and that foot it done. I like to take a nail file and smooth down the rough edges so she doesn't scratch her face. Quickly do the other side and voila, she's done.
You'd think she'd jet off my lap once I released her but no. She knows the drill. She gets worms after she gets her toes done. So she waits for me to carry her to the garage and put a small scoop of meal worms in front of her for only her to enjoy. Ginger is the most spoiled of all my hens.
Next was Spice. Her butt fluff is so fluffy that she frequently gets "stuff" stuck in her fluff. On these warm days, I typically wash it off and let her dry in the sun but I'm getting tired of doing this every other weekend. So this time I decided to trim back her fluff. I've never done that before and was afraid it would be more difficult than it was.
Spice will easily walk right up to me. I wrapped her up in the towel just to be sure she didn't hit me with one of her wings. But she's so calm that she just laid in my lap. I felt like I trimmed off so much but because she's so fluffy, you can barely tell I trimmed off anything. And one week later, she's still clean back there. Woo Hoo!!!
Next was Honey who needed her face washed. She had olive oil all over her and dirt was sticking to it. The olive oil was really for Coco who had eaten too many weeds that I had tossed into their run for them to scratch in. I was hoping they would eat all the bugs and slugs in the weeds and maybe nibble at the leaves.
But Coco is a Jersey Giant and would eat an aluminum can if I left it in their run. I never cease to be amazed at what that bird will choke down. I caught her eating Camellia leaves the other day. CAMELLIA LEAVES are like leather!!! Anyway, she appeared to be having trouble "going" and her droppings were full of weeds. So I fed her some olive oil mixed up in a scrambled egg to get her insides all lubed up. She's fine by the way. But Honey got into the bowl and managed to get olive oil all over her feathers and of course, then the dirt stuck to it and well, she really needed a little help.
So yes, a little spa day was in order for the hens.