Hen Apron

February 15, 2012

Yesterday afternoon, I visited with the girls as they enjoyed some sunflower treats in the run.  I have not seen too much of Dolly as she has been broody for the past couple of weeks.  She typically hides in a zen-like trance in the right nesting box.  I check on her twice a day.  She never minds feeling my hands taking the warm and toasty eggs from underneath of her.  She seems to understand that soon enough, someone else will lay another egg for her to rest upon.

Last week, Dottie Speckles was rehomed due to her mean and bullying ways.  It did not matter that Dolly raised her since the time she was day old chick.  Dolly meant nothing to Dottie Speckles.  Dolly kept her distance, yet Dottie Speckles would rush at her, Dolly would cower and be pecked incessantly until Dottie Speckles turned her attention to someone else.  It never occurred to me to examine Dolly, from what I could see, she was still a sweet little ball of fluff.
Yesterday, when I lifted up the nesting box lid, my eyes were met with horror.  Dolly was incredibly relaxed.  Her wings were spread out to her sides covering two large Buff Orpington eggs.  She had a large wound on her back hidden by her wing.  Dottie Speckles has pecked a spot underneath Dolly’s right wing to pieces.  Feathers were missing, the skin was hard and gooey pus was speckled here and there.  I quickly grabbed her from the nesting box and inspected her closely.  I felt so terrible.  I felt as though I had let her down, disappointed her.  She is a one of my favorites and such a good girl.  I gently lifted her into my arms and went into the house.

The house is in a state of remodeling chaos.  We are living out of 3 rooms, enjoying microwave cooking and instant coffee.  Doors are taped shut.  Rooms are barricaded off with sheets of plastic.  We are undergoing a remodel.  Thank Goodness, my husband was home.  As he held sweet Dolly, I fetched some Q Tips, a paper plate and Blu-Kote.  As Blu-Kote stains everything, I sprayed it on the plate and with the Q Tips cleaned her back.  In no time, her wound was a lovely shade of iridescent purple.  I placed her back inside of the run and everyone was curious.  The curiosity lead to pecking.  She was running in fear.  I needed to do more.  I scooped her up for my hubby to hold once more.

I ran inside and disregarded the sheet rock dust,  wet joint compound and taped doors.  I was in stealth Mommy mode.   I ran down cellar to fetch my sewing machine, some fabric, thread and Velcro.  Time was of the essence.  I speedily searched and found a pattern for a hen apron online (Thank you Back to Basic Living!).   I eyeballed it and went for it.  I did my best and cut it out free handed.  I needed elastic but I did not have any.  Then it dawned on me.  I cut apart an old Halloween costume and retrieved a small piece of elastic.  In about 10 minutes, I had created the apron.  It was definitely a prototype but it was going to have to do for now.

I had to wait a while for Dolly to return to the nesting box.  Once she did, I grabbed her and put it on.  She obliged.  She wriggled her wings and the saver seemed to just slink into position.  The wound was covered.  I put her back in the coop and she ran into the run.  Everyone noticed the apron and everyone was terrified!  She would move closer and they would as a collective flock, shimmy away.  Dolly stood taller and tried to intimidate them.  When she shook her wings, they ran.  It was such a sight to see; silly chickens.


I watched for a while and then determined that my quick handy work seemed to be staying put.  Once the girls tucked in for bed, I peeked in with a flashlight.  Dolly was on the roost with the rest of the girls snuggled in for the night between Tilly and Sunshine.  The crisis seemed to be averted.This morning, everyone popped out into the run a little before 7am.  Dolly came right out wearing her hen saver and she enjoyed scratching in the run with the rest of the girls.  No one seemed to fear her new wardrobe.  For now, all seems to be well.  Thanks to some great advice from my Facebook fans, I am off to pick up some Vetericyn.

I will apply that to the wound once I get it.  I have added vitamins and electrolytes to the water and I have been sharing some yummy, high in protein, meal worms with the girls.   I will keep the hen saver on her to keep the others from picking.  I am hoping that she makes a full recovery.  This has served as a reminder. Bullies can do so much more than emotional damage.  Their actions can be downright scarring.

Photo Credits:  Tilly’s Nest


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13 thoughts on “Hen Apron”

  1. Oh, poor Dolly! I'm so glad you caught this before it turned into something much worse. I must also confess that your story about her return to the run in her chic new attire made me giggle. lol I suppose Dolly had quite the fun with it for a while!

    Hope she recovers quickly. 🙂

  2. Remodeling chaos be damned! A hen mother has to do what a hen mother has to do. I'm thinking I should make one of those hen savers now, just to have on hand. Anxious to hear how the Vetricyn will work on Dolly. I swear by the the stuff for equines but have not had cause to use it on any of my chickens (I'm sure it's just a matter of time). Here's a post I wrote about using it, if you're interested.

  3. I realy enjoyed Dollies story and how you stopped any more infection from damaging Dollies back, I hope Dollie back has healed well and is back to normal.
    I enjoyed this story so much that Im going to use it has one of stories to write about in my blog for college, I hope this is ok.

  4. Oh my gosh. Your stories of your chickens always make me laugh. Dolly trying to intimidate the other girls now that they are scared of her! Silly chickens indeed…


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Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.