We’ve got another chicken recuperating in the kitchen – this time it’s little Sweet Pea, one of my favorites of the new girls. Actually there are two hens called Sweet Pea since they are identical and both of them are very friendly and follow me around like a puppy. I quickly grew attached to these two girls, and at first I started calling them my Sweetie Pies. That led to some confusion, however, when Sean and I were in the chicken coop at the same time and he thought I was talking to him instead of the girls! So I started calling them my Sweet Peas, and that seems to have cleared up the misunderstanding. The Sweet Peas are two of the lowest girls in the pecking order, and their breed is known for being slow to mature. They are hesitant to go to the feeders when the bigger girls or the roosters are feeding, and they are pretty small for their age. Given this, I was very surprised that one of the Sweet Peas started laying eggs last week. Almost immediately she developed a prolapsed vent (the vent is where the egg comes out), and this was very likely the result of starting to lay eggs too early. Rather than go into graphic detail, I’ll just say that she needed to be isolated from the flock to keep the other girls from pecking at her backside so we brought her back to Portland to recuperate.
The treatment for this condition involves mainly keeping her in very low light and switching her to a low protein diet to prevent her from laying eggs until her body has time to heal. It’s been 5 days since she prolapsed, and her condition has improved. She’ll still need a couple more weeks to heal, and then we’ll slowly increase the amount of daylight she receives. She’s not out of the woods yet, and the real test will be when she starts laying eggs again and whether she prolapses again. I have my fingers crossed that she will recover, since I really don’t want to have to put down another chicken so soon after losing our sweet Ruby in July. Although I wish it were under better circumstances, I do enjoy having a chicken in the kitchen. She’s living in the brooder box we raised the chicks in, and we let her out for some exercise and socializing at meal times. Despite the fact that she’s recuperating she is quite spunky, and if I don’t keep an eye on her every second she’ll jump up onto the counter and try to snatch a bite of the cheddar cheese that’s usually sitting there! My little Sweet Pea is truly a girl after my own heart.