The Chicken Chronicle
The mis-adventures of a backyard chicken wrangler

I'm Back but the Hens Never Left (except Lucy)

I fear I may have committed a "blogger sin": I haven't posted anything in 4 months!

This is probably bad, especially when you are starting a new blog and you realize that you actually have a few followers. Mea culpa.

OK, here's an interesting thing that I JUST learned (when checking the web for the correct spelling of mea culpa): the slang term (which I am not fond of), "my bad", is the literal English translation of mea culpa. Let's all try to sound more erudite and stick to Latin, shall we?

So what has occupied my time and attention these last few months, you ask? The short answer is that I decided to buy a horse. After nearly 30 years away from horses, I realized that I am a "grown-up" and I can actually fulfill my childhood dream of owning my own horse. I have had Foxy for a month now and am thoroughly enjoying what has become very much of a part-time occupation caring for, riding, outfitting, and learning about horses. I will have a lot to say about my equine mid-life crisis on my new blog that I am creating called: Hippie Horse. More on that later, this blog is dedicated to chickens.

I guess I will talk about Lucy. I did loose this beautiful Welsummer during my horse haze period. She developed bumblefoot, which is a terrible infection under the pad of her foot -- probably from stepping on something sharp (like a stray wire from the bottom of the hutch) that must have penetrated the skin. I spent a month treating her foot by placing her on oral antibiotics, and doing regular surgery on the foot to remove the bad tissues. I had to cut the pad and dig out hardened yellow-white patches of infection from under the pad with tweezers. Then I used a topical antibiotic on the wound and wrapped it with gauze. The foot was actually making progress in the positive direction, but in the meantime she developed a severe infection in her body cavity. She was extremely heavy with fluid, yet was not eating. She also was turning purple in her face and gasping for air. It was heart-wrenching to see her go through this torture. I decided that I needed to end her suffering myself, but how to do it was a difficult decision. I still don't know if I picked the best method, but it was the only one I was able to execute myself, not having the stomach to break her neck or chop her head off. I drowned her in a bucket of water and wept through the whole thing. Even though this was a few months ago, I still find it hard to form the experience into words.

Lucy was a chicken that my good friend, Jim Dennis, raised for me until she had enough feathers to be outside. She laid the most beautiful terra cotta colored eggs (which my two current Welsummers do not), she was the most friendly chicken in town, and a little too proud of every other hen's eggs (she would tell the world every time someone laid an egg, and with 19 chickens, that's a lot of squawking). We will really miss Lucy. (photo: NannyPs Hens)

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La Curucana

La Curucana
Part woman, part chicken, her job is to keep children from playing with the chickens, and picking up bird lice. (Holly Wood at


My pet chicken. The others are just chickens.