Thursday, November 14, 2013

Playing Chicken

  I spent most of my Tuesday fretting over a chicken. Not just any chicken, mind you. A special chicken, close to my heart. 

  It seems as though Miss Pickles has her timing off a bit, and has decided to molt now, as the temperatures start to dip below freezing. It's like a feather pillow exploded in the coop - feathers everywhere! The weather on Tuesday was more like late November in Wisconsin: cloudy, windy, and below freezing all day. The poor girl was cold and I was worried. 

  My first response was feed her warm food. She loves oatmeal with some dried mealworms on top! Well, this whole "I'm half naked and cold" had her stressed, and she didn't want to eat anything. My next idea, as a knitter, was a sweater! She needs a sweater! As luck would have it, I had finished one chicken sweater last winter. That went over like a lead balloon. Have you ever seen a chicken walk backward? Her tiny little chicken brain told her that was the way out of the sweater so that's what she did. It stayed on, and she was miserable. She looked fabulous though!

yes, that's snow behind her. See why I was worried?
  The only other solution was to bring her inside and let her warm up. But I needed some sort of containment for her. I didn't want a loose chicken in the house. So off to work I went to grab some boxes before the recycling truck took them away. Luckily for me, the alley behind the store was blocked by the roofers fixing the drugstore's roof, and the recycling truck never made it down the alley.( Unluckily for me, I'd have to drag all those boxes of cardboard back into the store the next day). With several large "emergency chicken housing" boxes procured, I sped home and set up shop in the office.
  Pickles was confused for a while, and just stood exactly where I put her down. It made me sad, so I sat with her in my lap. THAT was what she needed! She settled down on my lap, got warmed up, and was back to her old self after an hour or so.  She even had a little snack.

  By then, it was late afternoon and getting colder. Oh man, do I take her back outside for the night? Do I wait until morning? AARRGGHH! So frustrating and worrisome.

  I decided to put her back out in the coop for the night. I felt better when her sisters let her up on the perch between them, and they snuggled up for the night.

  It really was an all day affair. Very stressful for me. And the indoor coop is still set up, just in case.

Edited to add: I just read this again, and I realized what a crazy person I have become!

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