On Thursday, we had Betty issues. We found a hen who was being bullied by all the other hens. Nature can be so cruel. They have been preventing her from eating or drinking, it seems. They've been attacking her red crown to the point of damaging it and her feet were gnawed (or maybe just pecked at relentlessly). We don't know how long it was going on, we hadn't noticed anything different when we were around.
But on Thursday, this poor Betty was just hiding under the ramp, which seemed a little odd.
She was in rough shape. We didn't realize that she was starving to death and was too weak to walk. We decided to remove her from the gang to nurse her back to health. We placed her in the small greenhouse on the island with food and water. We added eggshells for extra calcium and watercress for extra iron, and vitamins in her water. She gobbled up her food non-stop for over an hour... she couldn't get enough... and then she'd drink her water. She couldn't even stand up. At night, Kevin put some straw in the dog kennel in the garage to keep her safe from preying animals.
Recovery has been slow... but steady. She's doing much better. She's gained some of her strength and is walking a little now. Good sign! Once she's fully back to health, we'll have to introduce her to the other hens, one at a time. They may see her as an intruder now... new kid on the block sort of thing... and they aren't usually very welcoming. If we put her in with the whole gang, they might kill her immediately. To avoid that scenario, we're hoping that by allowing each hen to be with her alone will even the playing field. If they still don't take kindly to her, we might have to give her away to one of our neighbours. I'll keep you posted :)