Never A Dull Moment

Sophia.  Always a little rough around the edges, that girl.

Sophia. Always a little rough around the edges, that girl.

After morning feeding earlier this week I was strolling around in the barnyard, enjoying the sun and doing my usual chicken head count. Something wasn’t right.  I was one chicken short and immediately had a deep-in-my-gut kind of panic.

I’m frequently surprised at the depth of my emotional connection my animals, animals that most people eat regularly without thinking twice.  I don’t have anything against all you chicken eaters out there.  I just can’t imagine doing it myself.  They rank right up there with my dog.  And I’ve never thought about eating my dog.

Anyway, so there I was, panicked.  Next move, start saying names.  Lucy, Cindy Lou, Cleopatra?  They’re ok. Rapunzel, Belle, Jasmine, Aretha, Maude?  Yep.  Scarlett and Sarah were both present.  Hermione, Louise, Sophia?  No.  WHERE IS SOPHIA?

I scanned the barnyard again.  No Sophia.  Coop?   Nope.  Run?  Not there either.  I stuck my head into the shed and there she was, right where she sleeps next to Doink.  She had not gotten up for the day. She did not look good.  Her head was tucked under her wing, she was all fluffed up, and looked like she was not going anywhere anytime soon.

I scooped her up, gave her some pats and set her out in the barnyard.  I did a few quick chores and when I went to check on her, I found her where she is most comfortable.  Right next to Doink.

A pig and a chicken.  Wow.  Just wow.

A chicken and her pig. Wow. Just wow.

It’s a big barnyard, full of chickens she could pal around with.  Yet she chose that spot.  I truly think she loves him and feels safe next to him.

The vet was called and we were in his office in an hour  Long story short, he had no idea what was wrong with her.

I don't feel well.

I don’t feel very good, lady.  

He set a course of treatment nonetheless, so I left with two medicines, special feed, and the knowledge of how to feed a chicken by a tube.

No really.  Get me out of here.   I'll get better at home.

No really. Get me out of here. I’ll get better at home.  I promise. Just put that tube away, please.

An additional trip back to the vet was made with fecal samples of all the animals.  (Yeah, I know, YUCK.)  All results were good – there’s no parasites, worms or any of those weird chicken diseases that start with a “C” to be found in any of the animals.

I’ve been tube feeding her regularly and keeping her in at night.  She seems a bit perkier in the barnyard during the day.

A nice sunny afternoon makes us all feel better.

A nice sunny afternoon makes us all feel better.

I don’t think she’s totally out of the woods yet.  I’ve keep my eye on her.  But for now, she’s ok.  And if she’s ok,  I’m ok.

On a side note, the fox was back in the barnyard last night.  I threw my coat and boots on and headed out to run her off.  Keela jumped up on the door as I ran out – and promptly locked me out of the house at 3:15am.  I got to enjoy the lunar eclipse for a few extra minutes before I could wake Very Excellent Husband Don up.  I think a nap is on my to-do list today!

(Shared at Simple Saturdays, Farmgirl Friday, HomeAcre HopBackyard Farming Connection, Tuesdays With A Twist, Maple Hill HopFrom The Farm Hop, Old Fashioned FridayHomeAcre Hop and Down Home Hop!)


  1. I hope Sophia feels better soon. Poor girl, hoping some rest and fluids will perk her right up. Glad you were able to run the fox off….
    Jen recently posted…Monday

  2. Glad to see that Sophia has perked up. It sounds like you’ve got a good vet. Our own “never a dull moment” for the past two weeks has been dealing with a broody hen. Her personality changed so radically. She puffed up and made strange clucking sounds at us. After several days of barely moving off the (empty) nest, we noticed her comb was not looking too good. We responded by pulling out our best treats, and then removing her from the nest. At least this way we knew she was eating something. After doing this for three days, she finally snapped out of her hormonal funk. We’ve got our girl back and her comb is back to being thick and bright red. What a relief!

    • Ah the joys of a broody hen. I had to create a whole new space for mine. I call it the “Henitentary” and that’s where all broody girls spend some time! Glad your lady snapped out of it quickly!

  3. I’m not even sure how I stumbled upon your blog (I think from Maple Hill) . . . but I absolutely love it! I completely relate to how you feel about your animals. Up until recently I had a flock of ten hens (which in my little suburb is saying something) and never could I imagine eating those beauties. Add my four dogs and cat to the mix and it’s nearly a zoo in my little house. I dream of someday owning a piece land where I can once again have chickens ~ and who knows – maybe a goat or two. Until then, I will live vicariously through great blogs . . . like yours.

  4. Ah, you guys are speaking chicken language, lol– broody hens, massaging a gritty crop….I need a translator. 🙂
    Lori recently posted…Blood Moon

  5. Glad Sophia is feeling a little better. Good chicken vets are few and far between so lucky you! And good for you running the fox off – how did you realise it was around? Keela’s antics make me smile – she sounds very like our new puppy, despite the difference in age. 🙂

  6. Hope Sophia gets better!!
    Lucy recently posted…Mexican Quinoa One Skillet Meal in 30 Minutes!

  7. Awww, poor girl. I hope she’s up to snuff real soon. Hope you got your nap!
    daisy recently posted…The Maple Hill Hop 27

  8. Aww. I hope she gets to feeling better soon. I love Doink.

  9. I’m so glad I landed here, while surfing the web in search of information on how to stop my girls’ pecking behavior. Let me start with the fact that I’m feeling a bit responsible for it, for the fact that in my town – and I live really downtown ! – chickens are not allowed to roam freely. What was I thinking last year when I ordered my fluffiest, cutest chicks!?! So, I thought, the bulling must be caused by the confinement, despite the chickens run and a roomy coop. Now, though, I start to see everything from a different angle, since I read that you too had to deal with the issue! The scene of naked, sometimes wounded girls really broke my heart, so I tried sprays, entertainment, seeds blocks to peck at, but with very little result. I’m going to order those pinless peepers I read about! Should I democratically put them on all of the girls? Or just start with the most aggressive ones? I have noticed already a change of supremacy in my flock, and I wouldn’t want to create new bullies by putting “sunglasses” only to few. What do you think?

    • I put the peepers only on the meanies. They remained at the top of the pecking order, but the peepers “took the edge off” their behavior!