Friday, March 25, 2016

Splinter the chicken

We now have a chicken in a splint.

I found her the other night just as our third "W" year lamb was being born. She had a broken leg. She was hiding in the hay, and had aborted an egg, probably due to the pain. (When chickens are stressed, they sometimes lay eggs without fully-formed shells.)

The best thing to do with a wounded chicken is usually to cull her and make soup, but I just didn't feel like doing so, not the same night that a new life had just been born on the farm. I decided to splint the leg.

Here she is with the splint applied. Obviously, she can't go out for a while, and so we're providing food and water and a heat lamp in the interior of the barn.

Here's the new "W" lamb, as yet unnamed. She's as big as the two-week old ones behind. She was so big, in fact, that she couldn't be born quite as presented, with the legs and head coming together through the birth canal, and I had to pull her legs out one by one before her head could be born.

This is not unusual. About one in four or five of our lambs seems to go this way, especially the big ones. If I can't quite get a hold of the slippery legs with my fingers, I slip a loop of clean baling twine over the legs and use that to get a grip.

In other news, we have an ice storm today, and we can't go anywhere because the driveway is iced up.

The plows have been out with salt and the main roads are probably fine, but our driveway is way too slick, even for four-wheel drive vehicles.

I'm keeping busy with webinars and conference calls. The nice thing about being an academic in today's world is that you no longer really have to travel to access new ideas. This is very helpful for us farmer-teachers, especially in an ice storm.

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