Friday, 19 July 2013

Yet more things we do for chickens

Tilda, our house chook, has been going out (of her own volition) and sitting under the Pampas grass all day.  I put a special drinker beside her, so she could drink without moving.    Meanwhile, in the Big Girls paddock, I've put a big driker on the outside of the run so that the Girls have easy access to water from all areas.

Tilda doesn't drink much. DH uses the "beak dip" method that one uses with chicks.  After dipping her beak a couple of times, she then drinks voluntarily.    I've tried this too. I've also used a syringe.

I read a suggestion about giving the chooks crushed ice.  I was dubious about this but,  from my cocktail making splurge, I have a couple of bags of ice in the freezer, so I thought I'd give it a go.  I couldn't find a hammer,  so I decanted half a bag of ice into another bag, and banged it against the wall.  When the corner ripped, I turned the bag round and banged the other end.  It wasn't really that satisfactory.

I tipped some bashed ice in front of Tilda where she stared at it and then ignored it.

Unthinkingly, I scooped out a small handful of ice and offered her my palm.  She surveyed it, suspiciously.  My palm was freezing rapidly, and it was reaching the "this is rather painful" point.  She picked up a bit of ice and dropped it. She looked for it, but couldn't seem to see it. She took another piece. I reached my limit and dropped some on the ground for her.

I went to see the big girls.  I rummaged in the bag, and put the unbroken cubes in an empty bowl for them.  i dropped other bits on the grass where they were ignored.  I picked up a handful and offered them to Florence.  She took her time selecting from the proferred objects, but then ate a couple of pieces.  I tried Roobarb who seemed to think that I was offering her something poisonous.   The melting ice was running down my wrist,  who knew it could be this painful? I scattered ice on the grass.    I put lumps in the waterers.

Then I saw them drinking out of the bowl.  I'd run out of home-crushed ice...but I was sure I had a bag of crushed ice (ready for making Mojitos) in the shed freezer.    I found it, put my hand in to pull out a handful of ready-made chips, and then realised that I'd effectively contaminated the whole bag.

Florence and Roobarb had a nibble, but by this time my hand felt like it was no longer part of my body. I picked up a couple of bite-sized pieces, and held them out. The Girls looked at my hand, scrutinising it. The pieces, meanwhile, did what ice does. They melted. By the time Custard was ready to take a bite, there was nothing left.  I picked up bigger pieces. Custard tried straight away, then rejected the lump as too big. I gave in and piled some on the grass for them, and then gave the rest to Tilda.

They are eating a bit.... but it'll be melted before they've cottoned on.

UPDATE: they are eating the remnants off the grass. It may be that next time (as if I'd ever do this again!) they'll eat it more readily.

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