Backyard Chickens: The Isolation Cage
September 27, 2013
Here's an update for those of you who read my last post about Miss Olive Snook. Unfortunately, not only is her leg still sore, but it seems to have worsened. Instead of hobbling around with a limp as she was before, she can barely move now, and holds her foot in the air whenever she's standing. Luckily, she still seems her perky self, and continues to eat and drink, so I'm hopeful.
As expected, the other chickens peck at her even more than they did before due to her weakened state, so Matt and I have decided to isolate her from the other girls. To do this, we first thought about buying a large dog crate or something similar from the store, but we decided against it because something with a floor would be hard to clean and too expensive for the size we were after. Instead, we built a small enclosure inside the coop with scrap wood and leftover chicken wire. It took a few hours to build, and it needs a little fixing here and there, but it does the trick.
Although this makeshift isolation enclosure was initially meant as a temporary fix for Olive, I'm thinking about keeping it long after this ordeal has reached its conclusion. It will come in handy for future medical issues, and will also make the perfect space in which to safely introduce young birds to the rest of the flock if we ever decide to add more.
But the thing I like most about this is that Little Olive can be separate and safe from the other chickens (and herself) while still feeling like she's part of the group. Occasionally they'll wander off too far for her, and she'll put up a fuss, but they usually keep her company. In the meantime, we're hoping that her leg will have the time it needs to heal. At night, we carry her back to the hen house so she can sleep with the other girls and stay warm. We're also giving her a bit of crushed baby aspirin with some food to help with the pain. Aside from calling the vet, which I'd very much like to avoid, I'm not sure what else to do other than to just wait and see.
Anyway, here's to hoping I come back with better news next Monday.