it seems our home has become halfway house, rehabilitation center and hospital for a few lucky animals...
meet "cripple creek", our rhode island red hen who was considered a gonner as of last friday. we had a bad cold spell. single digit temps. and this little hen wouldn't roost in the chicken house. we found her roosting on the ground in our shed. we brought her back to the chicken house thursday night. and placed her on top of the nest boxes, snuggled in next to two other chickens. the next morning i found her lying on the ground on her side, almost frozen to death. and apparently the other chickens had pecked the top of her head pretty good. they tend to do that if they fear one in the flock is sick. nature's cruel, huh? i brought her inside the house. placed her next to the heater in the spare bath. her legs didn't appear to work. i thought perhaps she had frost bite. she couldn't even sit up. i feared she was paralized. she was in bad shape and i didn't think she'd make the night. but i figured she deserved a chance. and at least she could die in peace and warmth. i had fed her and gave her some water. propped her up with a blanket so she wouldn't fall over. the next morning she was still alive. so, i began giving her "physical therapy". massaging her feet. trying to get her to stand up. holding her up while she ate and drank. then propped her up in her blanket bed for the night. this went on several days. but her legs just didn't seem to be cooperating. they would move but it appeared she had no control over them. i really didn't know what we were going to do with her if she could never walk. she'd never be able to live with the other chickens. she'd be in danger. but as fruitless as it seemed, i continued to feed, make her pretend to walk, etc... then low and behold. yesterday she took a few steps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and now today she is standing and walking on her own. i can't believe it! i'm going to let her rest in the warmth another week and hopefully she'll grow some feathers back on her head. and then the first of februrary, i'm going to reintroduce her to the flock. fingers crossed.
speaking of reintroducing to the flock... patrik will also be moving back outside in february. his coat is coming in nicely (as you can see from the photo), and he's really growing. the good news is, i was able to salvage most of his locks that he lost, so i should be producing some beautiful red yarn in the near future.
and finally, meet oliver. a stray beagle. yes, i'm a sucker. we were driving to town the other day for supplies and noticed a beagle in the middle of the road. we'd never seen him before. and trust me, i know all the animals around these parts, including groundhogs and skunks. he was collar-less and following our car. looked like he had been dumped. we decided that if he was still there on our way back home that we would pick him up. well, he was. and we did. looks most likely, he was dumped. there are abrasions on his chin that he could have obtained while being thrown out of a car. he's very shy. and totally sweet. i put an add on craigs list. but no one has claimed him. i have a few friends already offer to adopt him. so i'm sure he'll be going to a great home.