I haven’t posted much recently due to being busy, but I wanted to check in with an update on Yula, our young hen with the bad leg/foot. In the previously posted picture, you can see that she was having a hard time spreading her toes and distributing weight on them – preferring to put weight on her “elbow” instead. We weren’t sure what the cause was, other than a suspected injury, so we separated her from the rest of the coop to give her leg/foot time to heal, so back into the brooder in the mudroom she went for 3 weeks. We didn’t see much improvement, and didn’t want to keep her separated from the flock any longer, so we gave her access to “our side” of the coop, where we keep a bin of chicken feed, rakes, garden tools, etc. This allowed her more space, interaction with the flock and also a chance to try out her bad leg/foot with roosting, jumping, etc.
Her leg slowly got a little stronger, and we noticed her putting more weight on it, so we decided to introduce her back into the flock one evening. Unfortunately, in the morning, she got pecked so bad she stopped moving and just gave up. I was heartbroken! Thankfully, she was still alive, without any visible injuries. We watched her closely around the others but more of the same continued to happen. Yula would get chased and would pitifully hobble away as quick as she could until she got cornered and pecked. We noticed it was mainly the two older hens that were picking on her, so we kept them cooped up for a few days, allowing Yula a chance to get comfortable with the three young ones again. This went well over the next week, and we were able to let the entire flock share the same space.
I am happy to report, that they are all doing great now! Yula still hobbles, but her leg/foot is so much stronger than before. She still seems to prefer alone time, but (peacefully) mingles with the other hens on a daily basis. I’m glad we gave her the time she needed to heal and figure things out, and I hope she doesn’t remain the lowest on the pecking order forever!
On another note, one of the young hens laid her first egg yesterday! It was long and skinny, and laid in the nesting box.