Isaac, Stay Away From My Henhouse

Tonight, as Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac moves westward and–thankfully–away from Tampa Bay, the hens and I are fluffing our feathers in relief. Oh, we’ll still get a full day or so of flooding rains, 30-50-per hour winds, and general annoying cloudiness. Enough annoyances to prohibit egg-layers from delivering the goods for a day or two. And for me to endure an angry-eyed Mabel cursing through pressed beak from the cover of her coop while the downpours persist outside.

Of course, since only one out of three hens are actually LAYING eggs right now, this shouldn’t put much of a wrinkle into the sadly-lacking inventory gracing the top shelf of my fridge. Here’s why:

Mabel’s still not doing squat. Been three months since I’ve seen a green egg from that clucker. Why? I have to chalk it up to the dregs of summer heat here in Florida. Perhaps this is her way of requesting central air. Or she’s invisibly molting (since I don’t notice a plethora of brown feathers floating around). Or her little egg-making system is simply taking a break. Since she won’t utter a peep about the whole thing, and she appears otherwise perfectly happy, I shall not stress about it.

Marguerite delivered a whopping surprise last month in the form of a pile of worm-infested doo-doo. Now please understand that I don’t make a habit of peering at poo, but as a general matter of responsible chicken health monitoring, a mother hen must do just that on occasion. And so, after recovering from the mortification of this new tidbit of knowledge, I scoured the internet to research treatment, and off I went to the feed store for some de-wormer. Few drops into the girls’ water for 24 hours, and the worms are dead. Only bummer: can’t eat their eggs for 3-4 weeks. Do you know how difficult it is to throw away those beautiful eggs? And now she’s molting, which means no eggs from the Marge Egg-Laying Factory for two months.

And now for Chicken #3: Goldie emerged from broodville ten days ago and laid her first egg yesterday. It was like the egg gods finally smiled down from above. “We’re back in business!!” I practically screamed to the heavens upon discovering it, hands cradling the pink-brown orb of goodness and lifting it to the skies with a slightly demonic, glazed expression on my face. “Scrambled Sundays, here we come!”

Backyard chickens: always a source of wonderment.

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7 thoughts on “Isaac, Stay Away From My Henhouse

  1. I love hearing about your hens, Sheri! You are a gifted writer, just one of your many talents. I do hope Issac stays away from your hen house!

  2. As always, Sheri, another wonderfully written article on the joys/frustration of having hens! Hopefully, when Marg is done molting (soon we hope), and Mabel gets some cooler “fall – like” weather, the egg factory at your house will be “booming” once again. L,M

    • thanks for checking in! i’m enjoying your website thoroughly! regarding your question about the de-worming, after finding out the girls had roundworms, i used Wazine 17 (from my local feed store). i only used a few drops in their water — for 24 hours. then replaced it with new fresh water, and went almost 4 weeks without eating their eggs (torture!), based on recommendations from a vet friend. within 24 hours of administering the Wazine 17, I saw many dead roundworms in their droppings, so i knew it worked. however, W17 doesn’t kill the larvae, i’m told, so the websites/forums i researched recommend following up with another de-wormer approximately two weeks after W17 that will kill larvae. i purchased a broad-spectrum de-wormer called Fenbendazole (brand name “Safe-Guard”). but i decided to wait until winter to do that one, since the girls appeared to be totally healthy and fine and i didn’t want to unnecessarily de-worm. figured i’ll wait until they’re close to molting season (when they don’t lay eggs anyway) before having to go without eggs again for 3-4 weeks after de-worming.

      • Thank so much. I have never wormed my ladies, always been something I wondered about – then wasn’t sure what to even use. A rather controversial subject among chicken keepers. Learn something new every day! 🙂

      • i’m definitely no expert on it… but my vet warned me that since they eat so much from the ground, they are bound to pick up pest larvae, and to de-worm twice a year as a preventative measure. i’m not necessarily of the opinion to “medicate” creatures who don’t need it, but with my small backyard and the probability of them sharing/pooping/eating out of the same area year-round (i have about a 1/4-acre yard, half of which they get to roam at least 4-6 hours a day), i feel it might be warranted for my girls. however, with yours — more property? — it may not be needed unless you really notice they’re out of whack (no egg-laying, droopy or sick, etc.). i’m jealous of your property!

      • Hmmm, maybe my ranch pics are deceiving, I don’t have a huge place… just a 11/2 acres. Seems big sometimes though, it’s a lot to rake and keep tidy that is for sure. Guess I’ll take your vets advice and worm… maybe once a year. Thanks!

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