Thursday, August 2, 2012

Poultry Grossology

Luna has a stuffed nose.
Chickens are not for sissies. What I mean is, if you're squeamish, don't get chickens. In fact, you may not even want to read this little missive of poultry grossology.

This morning, I noticed that Luna has a plugged nose. It looks as if she crammed her nostril into the dust from her shavings and tried to pack as much in as she could. It now resembles cement.

This reminds me of the time 3-year-old L put a sparkly bead up her nose, and the first word that came out of my mouth was an astounded Why? (to which she answered, "I don't know, Mom. Every bone in my body told me not to").

Then, as now, the next question was, What to do?

In this case, though, I headed over to Backyardchickens.com, the best source for answers I've found, and pondered what to enter in their search engine. Plugged nostril? Shavings in nostril? Stuffed nose? I started with "plugged nostril" and a whole slew of hits appeared on my screen. Glad to know I'm not alone.

And what do you know? There is a name for this condition. Luna has a "plugged nare." Well, that sounds official. So how do we unplug her nare?

Here's the gross part. We get to soften it a little for a few days with some peroxide, then use the pointy end of a dental pick to pry that stinky, foul booger out. At which point her nostril (nare?) will appear huge. But she will be able to breathe through it again.

Yes, we have to pick our chicken's nose. And if you suspect you have an egg-bound hen, you have to explore her vent for a stuck egg. Want to know if a hen is laying? Get out your lipstick (preferably one you don't wish to use again) and use it to color-code her vent, so that it streaks the egg with lipstick. Oh, and they sometimes get a foot condition called bumblefoot that is really gross...

But I'll spare you more details. I have to go look for some peroxide and a dental pick.

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