Monday, January 28, 2013

Chicken Butt

When the boys were little, they used to play a little joke on other kids, where they'd ask,"Guess what?" and the answer would be, "chicken butt!"  Apparently if you are a 12 year-old boy, this is absolutely hilarious.  But I'll tell you, chicken butts are serious business.
Guess what?  Chicken butt!

Last week for instance, I noticed a marked increase of what I would discreetly call, "dirty eggs" coming out of one of the nest boxes  Occasionally, under normal circumstances, chicken eggs can have a little trace of dung on them, here and there, and when that happens you simply leave it there until right before you are ready to crack the egg, since there is a protective bloom on the eggshell that keeps the insides free of germs.  In fact, if you do what seems the common-sense thing to to, which is wash the egg immediately after bringing it in the house,  you destroy the bloom on the shell and thereby potentially contaminate your egg.

Ellen: Not amused by chicken butt humor

But where I am going with this is that I started getting eggs that were beyond help, they were so messy. The last one was so awful I just fed it to the dog, right there and then.  But when I went in search of the culprit I found Ellen, a Buff Orpington, with a ton of built-up, caked-on dung all over her rear feathers.

I ended up having to bring her inside and put her into a warm bath, just to loosen it up.  Then, since I was afraid the others would pull at her feathers if they looked soaking wet, I gave her a little blow dry afterwards.  And a sample-sized packet of styling mousse to take home and try.  Just kidding on that last one.

All those years I fantasized about owning chickens, bathing their asses and giving them a blow dry was not something I'd ever imagined doing, but there you go. Farm life is like that.

So that happened.  Now I have clean eggs again, but upon further research, I understand a dirty chicken bottom could be a sign of roundworm infestation, so last night I went to Tractor Supply Store and bought some Wazine wormer not only for my chickens, but also some Safeguard for my two dogs.  Because I know the chickens have surely sampled some of the delish dog turds out in our yard, and I know the dogs occasionally dine on chicken poop.

The bad news is that once I get started on this, we will not be able to eat the chicken eggs for about 14 days, as the chemicals used to worm them will be released into whatever eggs they lay.  But hopefully I have enough eggs stored up that we'll be fine, and when we're all done, the hens will be too.

And clean chicken butts for all will be the order of the day.  As it should be.

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