Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Red Bucket Circus

Occasionally, someone will ask what the difference is between a garden and an urban farm. In my mind the difference is livestock, and in my case that means chickens. Today I'm wondering what the difference is between an urban farm and a circus. It's been a crazy week here and it's only Wednesday!

On Monday, Petunia was having trouble laying an egg. She's a young Barred Plymouth Rock. She laid her first beautiful egg on Sunday, a lovely shade of palest pink-white. Monday afternoon she began sitting on the nest at 2:30 or 3:00. By the time I left for work at 6pm, she was panting and struggling. I thought she was egg-bound, which can be fatal. I left a note for the boys to deal with it when they got home from soccer. While they were on the phone consulting with our poultry expert, Petunia laid her egg. Whew! Crisis averted.

On Tuesday afternoon I discovered that Rhoda the Rhode Island Red has some kind of eye injury. Her left eye is closed as seen in the photo above. We don't see any sign of blood, redness, swelling or violence. But her eye is still shut today and she's very subdued, although she does move around a bit. I think she's eating.

Today Petunia felt the need to lay her egg at the same time as Wisteria. Wisteria is a one-year old Wyandotte, the biggest girl in our flock. She commands the largest nest box (out of three), and she doesn't like to share. But Petunia insisted on squeezing her fluffy fanny into the same box with Wisteria, and now her comb is all bloodied. I tried to wash it, but wasn't very successful.

I decided to secure Petunia and One-Eyed Rhoda into the day shelter so they could get some relief from the others, but Petunia was having a fit so I let her back out. She proceeded straight to the hen house and climbed back into the nest box with Wisteria which caused a chicken growling match. Yes, growling. Wisteria was finished laying her egg and she was staying in the box just to be ornery. I threw her out.

Also, there was one incomplete egg in the poop trays this morning. This happens occasionally and usually isn't anything to worry about, but I wonder if Rhoda is too stressed to lay properly.

So now I think I should go shopping to get more nest boxes, some eye ointment and saline solution. No, it's not for me. Fortunately, I have styptic powder to stop bleeding, if I can apply that properly. I'm off and running.

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