Hard Earth Farm

Farm News

The Road Less Graveled: Of Lice and Hens

Posted by [email protected] on July 5, 2012 at 8:50 AM

I would be remiss (not to mention lying by omission) if I did not give voice to my sorrow over the loss of Beaky. She was a wonderful individual and the most spirited of our chickens. Safe travels, little sister, wherever you are bound.

I have, however, been tasked with writing about the ordeal which served to remove many of the lice which previously infested our new chickens. A moment, if you will. Going from two cringe-worthy puns to a solemn commemoration to more ridiculousness can cause whiplash. Alright, here we go.

Our new hens were infested with lice, with the parasites all over the(all too visible thanks to lack of feathers) skin of their heads and necks. Presumably there were legions more under the feathers as well. Mom had suspicions about this, but it was confirmed with (after having my ankles repeatedly attacked while modifying the coop) I investigated. So we leapt into action, rounding up three different anti-lice powders and a spray designed to rid cattle of them, the bottle of which was plastered with warning labels contain phrases like "[upon] contact with skin, wash with soap and water for 20 minutes and call poison control" and "contains dangerous petrochemicals." I gloved up, covered my face with a bandanna , eyes with sunglasses, legs with jeans, et cetera, and proceeded to pursue the chickens into the two-foot tall gap beneath their house, alternately blasting away with the spray bottle and flinging powder over them. The air filled with fumes and billowing clouds of lice dust. The poor chickens, confused and frightened, dashed about in all directions.

Once the dust settled, all over the floor of the house, the enclosure around the house, and the chickens themselves. I beat a hasty retreat.

In the aftermath, we've been gratified to find that the chickens are looking much better (they've since been released to roam freely). The eggs will be edible in a bit, and are serving as supplement dog food until then.

And so it goes. Take care out there, dear reader, until we meet again.

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