If you’ve followed my chicken journal you know that this past spring we got 20 Red Rangers to raise as meat birds. A handful of them developed leg problems when they were younger, and right about when we moved them from the house brooder into their outside coop, two of them developed a substantial limp. They could barely walk.
Being hurt, they were low on the totem pole and constantly picked on. Chickens can be real bullies!
They couldn’t run away or really even defend themselves, and they just sat in the coop on the floor while all of the other chickens had the time of their lives exploring the great outdoors.
I had to do something.
I’m learning that I’m a push-over when it comes to needy animals.
We set up a cardboard box in the bathroom, hoping that they would be able to rest, feel safe, eat as much as they wanted, grow and heal. Well, it worked.
After only a couple weeks they were doing great! They went from barely walking to being able to run straight across the yard. They can jump, go up and down stairs, and scratch in the dirt- everything a chicken should do. They both have a bit of an akward-bow-legged stance, but they are officially healed.
That was over two months ago.
And they’re still in the house.
Yes, I know this isn’t normal.
I tried to introduce them to the rest of the flock and they were immediately picked on, probably for being the new kids in school. There is a certain way you are supposed to introduce “new” chickens to an existing flock, and we aren’t set up for that quite yet.
So back to the house they went. My two house chickens.
When I get up in the morning they are bright-eyed and ready to start the day. I take them out of their box and carry them outside. They stick real close to the house and play in the landscaped plants and bushes all day. They have made a dust bath area in the shade between two rows of tomato plants and have made several, what I call “forts” in various places.
I can tell they are absolutely loving life.
Once or twice per day they will come to the front door and literally knock on it with their beaks. I bring them out a small dish of food, they eat and then return to their adventures.
They love the back porch. You can tell when a chicken loves something because it poops all over it.
They sit on the porch right next to each other, looking out into the yard like a little old married couple. They love to run from one end of the porch to the other, which I can hear from inside the house because they sound like a couple of elephants out there.
If they happen to be close by when I walk out of the house they run full speed to see what sort of treats I have brought out for them.
Every night between 7:30 and 8:00 they will come to the door. Sometimes they wait patiently and sometimes they knock. I open the door and they both run in the house. It’s pretty darn cute. I pick them up and put them back in their box, feed them dinner, turn out the lights, and they go to sleep.
The truth is, even though I feel like a crazy chicken lady with two grown chickens living in the house, I really enjoy their company. They aren’t a burden at all. Even the cat doesn’t seem to mind. They hardly even poop in their box, and they don’t smell at all.
Do I need a poultry intervention? Or maybe a dog…
I do have a plan to get them back outside, and in just a couple weeks they will be introduced back to the coop with the others.
I guess I haven’t been in a hurry to get them back outside because I enjoy their presence. Plus, I can see that they are about as happy as I think chickens can be.
And when I decided to raise chickens, that is all I really wanted- to have happy chickens.
Like reading about chickens? Find more chicken-related homesteading stories here!