Feathers and Duct Tape Don’t Mix

Living with animals, as anyone with animals knows, means lots of laughs and the odd drama.

Brown Chicken surveys her world

Brown Chicken surveys her world

Our brown hen, went all broody in September, just as the temperatures started to go down, and down. Still, she was determined, and started sitting on (5) eggs. She would get off the eggs at the warmest part of the day, around 3pm, have a good stretch, preen and wander round the rabbit enclosure.

On this particular day, I was working on winterising the rabbit house, tacking up insulation and then duct taping to stop any drafts. Next thing I know our little brown hen had managed to get some loose duct tape stuck to her butt. A nice wad of it.

After I stopped laughing myself silly at this comical presentation, I proceeded to chase her about a bit to see if I could catch her and get it off, before it got more embedded in her feathers, but to no avail.  She enjoyed the game for about 5 minutes and then called over the rooster to get rid of me. (When he arrived he proceeded to court her and show off his feathers, so I don’t think he saw me as a threat.)

Brown Chicken takes a break

Brown Chicken takes a break

I waited until the chickens went to bed and she would once again be on her eggs.  The good thing about where she is nesting is that when I open the lid her backside is to me.  So I reached in and tried pulling off the tape, but she was having none of it.  So I retreated and researched.

There is a great site called Backyard Chickens that is inspirational and informative when it comes to taking care of the feathered kind.  Once again they came to the rescue with a solution – oil. It would appear I was to oil the offending duct taped backside.

So duly encumbered with olive oil and scissors I headed down to the chicken house this morning.  To my advantage, because she is broody, she goes into a sort of trance-like state on the nest (probably so she doesn’t go out of her mind with boredom sitting there so long).  With oiled left hand and scissors in the right hand I went to work, oiling and then snipping where a particular resilient feather stayed attached.  All the while trying to be super cautious so I didn’t snip her – difficult when your sight line is hindered by a mass of feathers and duct tape.

Chicken doctoring tools

Chicken doctoring tools

I must say, she was an excellent patient, stayed calm and quiet the whole time.  (I suspect if she hadn’t been broody it would have been a very different story.) The surgery was a resounding success, except for maybe the odd bald patch. Due to the potential faint-heartedness of some city folk I will not show you pictures of the surgery, but include the end result and offending wad of duct tape (with the odd feather stuck to it still).




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