Today was a good day for chicken pedicures. I’m not as crazy as I sound most of the time. I am the lady who ends up with all the stray chickens, just as there are ladies out there who end up with all the stray cats. Yes. I have been called the Chicken Lady. And I’m just happy to be called a Lady quite frankly. Unfortunately one of my stray chickens has brought a little friend with her…in fact many little friends. The dreaded scaly leg mites came in with a stray and has infiltrated a number of my flock, interestingly targeting the birds with feathery or white legs. If they had white and feathery legs, than doubly so it seems.
When I noticed that one of these cuties (they’re all teenagers now) had also picked up the mites, I realised I had been a bit slack and it was time for action. So, armed with an ice cream container filled with hot soapy water, an old nail brush, and some cooking oil mixed with a herbal lice treatment which I had to hand, (don’t ask, just see this bad mother story) and dressed in my old paint pants and top I made my way to the chook run. Where I got many sidelong looks like this:
Catching chickens is not easy. People always want advice on how to catch a chicken, and really it’s like asking how to bath a dog. You kinda just have to make up your mind you’re going to do it. And then, do it. The good part of catching chickens is that they have tiny brains and they don’t remember that they ran this way last time and then you blocked them off and caught them, before you treated them and let them go. The bad part of catching chickens is that they have tiny brains and they don’t remember that they ran this way last time and then you blocked them off and caught them, before you treated them and let them go instead of murdering and eating them.
It frustrates me that my chooks, including my famous Rooster Richard, don’t remember that after I catch them they get a full pedicure, which they love. I know they love them because I have seen them sigh and close their eyes in the bliss (and let’s face it who wouldn’t?), and when I have released them they get that familiar look in their eyes that I have had myself when the timer goes off after a massage.
So, the day goes: catch traumatised chickens, soak their chalky legs in hot soapy water, a light scrub with the nail brush and then a herbal oil treatment to finish up. Put blissed out chicken down and resume the chasing again. Interestingly, when Richard has been treated, he often gets in the way of my catching the other chooks. And it may be that he is all slick with oily soaked legs, or it may be that he is hoping to get caught again so he can have another turn. ‘Oh! Oh, dear! I seem to have tripped and ruined my pedi – oh no don’t catch me again….er, I said, don’t catch me…Oi!…I’m right here!’
I wish I had photos for you, but I can barely manage the chicken, the oil and the process as well as the camera. Stay tuned, I’ll work on it.
The job’s done now, I am oily and gross, but happier than I would have been vaccuming. And you’d never known that I had thrown the chook house into such chaos.
I have the smell of chicken imbedded in my nostrils now. And not in the good Fried chicken kind of way.
And if the kids come home with lice again anytime soon, we’re stuffed.