Saturday, August 18, 2012

Soaring with eagles

Okay, not really but this beautiful young hen on the left is being protected by one eagle feather. The saying, "pecking order" is true, especially among older and younger chickens. They have to be close to the same size to be introduced to each other. In this case I put eight young Araucana hens in with my old ladies. For two days all was okay but then it was apparent the younger birds were being picked on.

Whenever a chicken sees the color red she picks at it. Once one drop of blood is exposed it's fair game and can be quickly fatal. It was for one of the young birds so when it started happening to another I decided to intervene without having to separate them.

I gather up molted raptor feathers to either send to the federal feather depository near Denver or for imping purposes. This particular feather was damaged and not good for either purpose so I did some trimming and then taped it to the young hens back to cover where she'd been injured. As long as they can't see the wound it's able to heal and replace the missing feathers. You can see the narrow strip of tape and the rather dark feather just above the base of this babies tail.

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