Well, it was time for our Ex Battery Hens to suffer their regular red mite dusting regime again. With 18 hens it’s never a 2 minute job. So donning the old clothes (I get as much a dusting as they do) I set off down the garden to sort them out.
First I took their coop apart and gave it a thorough clean and dusting. This meant any lurking beasties hopefully were cleaned out too. So far we haven’t seen any sign of red mites and I’d like to keep it that way too, nasty little critters.
Ok hutch cleaned and dusted, now for the girls. One by one I picked them up and gave them a good powdering.
I use this time to give them a more thorough close up check, wattles, eyes and legs.
Well I had 2 surprises. I, rather frustratingly, found that 2 of our girls had the start of scaly leg mite. Scaly mite burrows under the scales of the hens legs lifting them and causing the hen a lot of discomfort and can lead to lameness and reduced laying.
Because of this, I had to then bathe all the hens’ legs to treat the mite. Armed with an old bowl filled with warm soapy water, I washed and cleaned their legs with a soft nail brush and then dunked them in surgical spirit.
Then for my second surprise. During the process I discovered three of my girls were growing spurs. Henrietta had the most impressive set. My beautiful, brave and intelligent Henrietta. This does explain a few things as a couple of the girls have been a bit aggressive with each other lately. Still, they seem happy and content and I can’t ask for anything else from them really.
Anyway, all this meant what should have taken me half an hour took two! One of the biggest problems is once you’ve treated 4 or 5 of the girls the others cotton on to what’s happening and get crafty and hide.
Oh how we laughed! What I must have looked like stood there covered in disinfectant, mite powder, soapy water and surgical spirit with bits of twig sticking out of my hair from trying to catch the girls. And no there are no photos before you ask!