A Letter to Beginners Regarding Emergencies and Illnesses

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by micstrachan, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    Bridgey must know you very well. It took me quite a while before Fat Bird and Ruffles would accept me as an escort. The useful thing is once the younger hens have seen the more senior being escorted they tend to accept you more easily. I’ve got one, Tackle, and she wont have any of it. It’s her brother Block, or her Dad Cillin, and I just don’t hack it.

    Current research has 37 different chicken calls now and this number keeps growing. A problem I’ve found is each chicken sounds different to another and it gets very difficult to differentiate between each.
    I’ve had to put a number of calls through an oscilloscope just to see if the waveform is similar hoping to find some common factors.
    I find the whole chicken communication business fascinating.
     
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  2. micstrachan

    micstrachan Free Ranging

    Me, too! Though I haven’t taken my quest for info as far as you have. I just pay attention to my flock.

    And yes, Bridgey knows me well. I held her every single night when she was a chick in the house and then in the grow out coop in the garage. Since my chickens are pets (and now that I’ve dealt with a couple illnesses and am aware chickens may need to be handled) I hand raise mine and try to handle them often.

    Here she is with me earlier this year and then sitting on my arm as a chick 2 1/2 years ago. :)

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  3. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    What breed is she? Sry. I know virtually nothing about the breeds kept in the US?:hmm
    She’s a lovely looking hen. Looks very healthy. Not even specks around the ears! The lot here look a bit scruffy in comparison.:p
    I handle the mums and the chicks. As they grow up I generally only handle them to inspect. Most of the hens here in particular don’t like being handled.:( The roosters don’t seem to mind as much but I try not to handle them more than necessary either.
    It’s different when they are more like pets and of course having a chicken used to being handled can be a great advantage in times of crisis. It’s a fine line and I’m never quite sure where I should be on it.:confused:
     
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  4. micstrachan

    micstrachan Free Ranging

    Thanks! She’s a Plymouth Barred Rock (Barred Plymouth Rock?) She’s a pretty robust hen, second heaviest only to my light Brahma. However, she is high in the pecking order could be a little fat. I’ve always loved her “hugeness”, but now I realize I need to keep a close eye on her weight. I haven’t weighed her lately, but I’m certain she has lost weight during this molt.
     
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  5. micstrachan

    micstrachan Free Ranging

    @Shadrach, there is another call/sound I know. It's a greeting. When I approach my chickens and when they approach me, there is a cute little cluck that is sort of grunty. Not sure how else to describe it. Not all of them do it, but definitely it's more than one hen. :) They do them in successions of three, I think. At least Mildred (Millie) does.

    And then Margo, my Brown Leghorn who is top hen (except for the fact that Bagheera plucks her back feathers), has a distinct trumpet sound when she is exercising her dominance, especially if food is involved. She is the only hen who does this.

    And finally, Bridgey's greeting is different from the grunty sound. She does it in threes, but it is higher pitched.
     
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  6. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Crowing

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    I’m trying to help a 7 year old differentiate between the different chicken noises... some are very clear and others less so. “See how when you reach in to grab a baby chick from above they make that startled alarm noise and all of them run under their heater? They think you’re a hawk or owl swooping in to eat them, and that makes them upset!” There should be a chicken language translation CD to help with this, so we can know what to “say” back to them to calm them. I’m trying to learn myself, but without a mama hen to observe yet it’s a challenge
     
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  7. micstrachan

    micstrachan Free Ranging

    Yes, it’s a challenge! When my girls are startled, I say in a bit of a song-song voice, “It’s okay. It’s okay.” Sometimes, though, I think they understand my body language better than my voice. They will come when called some of the time, but they definitely react when I attempt the aerial predator call. Some of them know their names, too. I love that!
     
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  8. PouleChick

    PouleChick Crowing

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    Great post!

    I'm regretting one decision I made when I had all my chicks running around with the mummy hens to be fairly hands off - particularly with the roosters - I'd read it repeatedly on here to not handle roosters so I didn't and now I'm really regretting it as I need to treat my boys for scaley leg mites and I can't catch them and not sure if I can reach them where they sleep in the coop (another newbie error in coop design!).
     
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  9. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    I think body language and your emotional state has a major bearing on communicating with chickens.
    I have some visitors who when they arrive miraculously empty my house of chickens; others, the chickens don't seem very bothered by.
    I had one very over the top women arrive to look at the lamps I make and Cillin (rooster) went to attack her. Fortunately I saw it coming, probably because I felt the same way.;)
    There are some people who have a better rapport with other species than others.
     
    micstrachan likes this.
  10. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    I think the advice not to pick chickens up is basically sound.
    What doesn’t get mentioned much is other ways to enable you to gain sufficient trust from the chickens in order to catch them if necessary.
    It seems to me that what chickens don’t like is have their wings restricted and their feet off the ground. I hand feed all the chicks that get hatched here and touch their beaks with my forefinger each time I feed them.
    I’ve watched and sought advice from two good fowl vets in the past both of who treat the fowl on a large table with the chicken standing. There is no grabbing, or restraint used. When a chicken panics they let it go and try again. Part of it is confidence. Get what needs to be done quickly when possible.
     
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