Posts Tagged ‘chicken soup’


Add some veggies and we’re done!  😆

Um, are you thinking that usually the chicken is dead and in parts before it goes into the soup? And wondering why on earth I have a {live} chicken in a pan on my counter?  😆

It’s all about the poop.  :mrgreen:

When we become parents, poop worms its way into our lives, and honestly, becomes a critical component of our every day living. You mothers out there know what I mean- especially if you’ve had a saver-upper prone to blow-outs.  😀 (we’ve had 3 of those anal retentive kiddos here, but don’t tell them I told you……)

You plan your day around the expectation of poop, bringing along the necessary extra diapers and clothes so as to plan for the mess. If you’re lucky enough to be able to stay home when things reach critical mass, you do it, because it’s so much easier than being out and about when the explosion happens.

And, if you’re breastfeeding, you’re lucky enough to deal with mustard poos that don’t stink or stain as much as the artificial baby milk alternative. Plus, they are usually more frequent, too. One of the key ways to tell if your breastfed baby is getting enough is by watching what is coming out- if it’s coming out, it’s going in, as I always used to say…………..

But I digress.  😆

So. It goes without saying that poop is pretty important, and not just in humans.  If you have a dog and kids, you obviously know what I’m talking about. 😉 (thank goodness crayons are non-toxic!)

WARNING: If poop makes you barf, now is the time to either click the little red x in the upper right hand corner of your screen, or get your barf bag or bowl so it’s handy when you need it. 😀

Now is also the best time to go to the bathroom and get something to eat or drink if your stomach can handle it, because this is a longer account………..

Two weeks ago Monday (the 6th), our flock mistress, Butternut,  one of our 3 Buff Orpingtons, was in the nesting box all day. That was the day I took the pictures for my A Family Affair post. I don’t remember seeing her in the run in the morning, and even after we let them out in the yard at lunch, she was reluctant to leave the nesting box. I figured she was going to give us a whopper of an egg and solve the mystery of the too-big-to-fit-in-the-egg-carton mystery.

Finally, she came out, but just sat down outside my window in the sandy area. It was cold and windy that day, so I tried not to think too much about it. After sitting there for several hours and periodically closing her eyes, I knew something was off. It was obvious she was not feeling well.

Normally, I am a sit-back-and-wait kind of girl. You should know that my kids haven’t been in to the doctor in so many years that they don’t even have their files IN the office anymore- they are out in storage. I am firmly in the camp of the need for antibiotics is rare; you don’t need them for colds (because colds are viral and not bacterial, so antibiotics won’t even work), so you just need to ride it out.

I would have happily had all my babies at home had that been an option, and the last two were born under water in a non-hospital setting (yes, that also means non-medicated and no IVs!). I also went home about 3 hours post delivery with those last two, thanks to options we didn’t have with the first two.

I come out pretty crunchy on the granola scale, which you’ve probably guessed because we have chickens. I think it’s safe to say that my minimalist running shoes habit falls into this category, too.

So, you can see that in my world, I usually take a more laid back approach because “cause for concern” does not necessarily = “immediate action” as I see it. 😀 I may panic and get to researching frantically, but most of the time, I am going to sit and wait and see what happens.

Which I did. Until she pooped. (Warning! Graphic picture of poop!)


Y’all know blood in ANY kind of poo is bad, right? Well, of course this applies to chickens, too. The only thing that rang a bell for bloody poo was coccidiosis. Cocci is often fatal. It’s a protozoan parasitic microorganism that can be found, among other places, in soil.

Before we got chickens, I had done a ton of research, as you’ve probably figured out by now. I wanted to be sure I knew what I was getting into, so I could ensure the best chance of success for my peeps.

One thing I learned about cocci that stayed with me was that it most often affects young chicks, and the older the bird, the more likely it was to have developed tolerance. This was one of the determining factors for using medicated chick feed when they were babies. And, since I knew cocci is more likely to occur during the warmer months, Butternut wasn’t totally fitting the profile.

She also hadn’t been exhibiting any other kinds of symptoms prior. The bloody poos usually happen around day 4 of the infection. That’s another way she wasn’t quite fitting the profile. One more reason was that if cocci is in your soil, it’s likely to affect more than a single chicken out of a flock, too, although that’s not a guarantee.

The first thing I did was have the kids bring the big brooder back into the house so I could separate her out and keep a very close eye on her. (truth be told, I have kinda missed not having a house chicken, although it’s good that no one has been injured and needed to be inside…………)

Monday night brought another bloody stool that was all liquid; all blood.

Tuesday morning, Butternut had another smaller bloody poo. J (10) asked where we were going to bury her. 😦  Late morning, she was drinking some, but not really interested in food.

Tuesday afternoon, I went to Tractor Supply and found some Corid because if this was cocci, I could not delay treatment. By this point and time, I had spent *hours* (at least 8!) researching and asking questions without having much luck. By evening, she had done a small but normal poo, which again, was not consistent with a cocci diagnosis, from what I was able to learn.

Wednesday was my morning and early afternoon out, but my son (15) was home with Butternut, and I was calling to check up. He knew he was to call me in the event something (like more bloody poo) happened. The report was that she was drinking, pooing normally (although not a lot) and getting a little interested in food.

By this time, I figured if this was cocci, she would be going downhill and not appearing to get better, so I was glad I had delayed giving the Corid. There was another thought that crossed my mind- I wondered if she could, perhaps, be egg bound. That’s when the egg gets stuck and can’t come out.

Why would I be thinking along those lines? Well, we knew Butternut was not one of our power layers. Best we could tell, she was only giving us an egg every few days. Because it’s winter (which means shorter days for laying) and we don’t use supplemental light, it was not a concern even remotely that she wouldn’t be laying more than every few days.

The thing was, every now and then, we’d get a really bloody egg. This is usually not a big deal- the blood washes off- and it’s usually an indication of a small blood vessel that burst while laying. Not fatal; not a big deal. A little messy, but nothing water can’t take care of.

When chickens are new to laying, weird things can happen, like rubber eggs, for example. (We found one of these under the roost, which meant it was covered in poo so we pitched it without taking a picture.)

But it got me thinking…… what if she is going to be a problematic layer? What if this was an egg bound issue? If a chicken is egg bound, this too, can be fatal. Ya gotta get the egg out! And this is what led me to chicken soup…………..

When a chicken (they can be either pullets or hens) is egg bound, they recommend a steam or warm bath to help the poor girl relax. When this is combined with gentle massage, often, it’s enough for the chicken to get the contractions going which will let loose the egg.

So, how do you know if a chicken is egg bound? The best way is to explore the vent. Now, I’ve never violated a chicken, and it wasn’t on my bucket list. Yes. I just said it wasn’t. 😆

The key here is to go up and not down. Let me explain…..

Chickens have a common opening for “stuff” to come out of the body. This includes waste and eggs. Before you get all grossed out and swear off eating eggs forever, let me just say that eggs don’t come out the poop chute. Nope. They don’t. This means they don’t come out covered in poop; they don’t even come into contact with it.

When an egg is laid, it travels down the oviduct and out the vent. Part of the cloaca (vent) turns inside out and goes back inside the chicken. If it doesn’t, this is called a prolapse, and can be a pretty big problem.

Got it? Go down to get into the intestinal tract; go up to the oviduct. If you are still confused, try here: How a Hen Lays an Egg. Because the hen seals the egg with a protective coating called a cuticle (or bloom) it is not necessary to wash the egg.

According to Dr. Ken W. Koelkebeck of the University of Illinois’ Animal Science Center,“When the cuticle or bloom is deposited by the hen on the shell this acts as a barrier to keep bacteria from entering the egg. When eggs are washed, however, this removes most if not all of the cuticle from the shell surface. Thus, bacteria have an easier time entering the egg after washing.”

Ok. Back to the egg bound issue. When I told hunny I needed to give Buttenut warm bath, he immediately told the kids to “Get the stock pot!”  😆

After the first bath and massage, I was too chicken to probe the vent. 😆 I did, however, feel around the outside, and did not feel a thing.

A few more days passed before I got brave enough to give her another bath because I knew what else I would have to do, and I still wanted to wait and see. She was doing her egg song, and scratching, so by all accounts, she was acting like she needed to lay. (Yes, I know, our chickens are backward because they do their singing before they lay- I am convinced this is to get praise and adulation when they resurface after doing the deed 😆 Although, if I was laying an egg like that every day, I’d want praise and adulation too! And treats! :lol:)

After the second bath and no results, I knew I had to get in there and check. It’s amazing what we’re willing to do if death is a factor and could be a potential outcome. 🙂

I got the disposable gloves; I got the olive oil. I lubed up, and in I went. 😯

J (13) held her while I explored. I felt the cavity that was big enough to hold an egg. And it was empty.

I might have been convinced to go up a little higher if poor Butternut wasn’t trying to bite J on the arm. She wasn’t happy about the probing, clearly, but it wasn’t too distressing to her, because she wasn’t squawking or trying to get away. She was being as patient with us as she could be. 😆

I was resolved, though: Butternut could not go outside until she laid an egg. I wanted to be sure there weren’t any issues with laying, and plus, it would help us know for certain which kind of egg was hers. And, I’ll admit, it was kinda nice having a house chicken to talk to again. 😉

Besides that, her butt feathers were plucked, so something was still going on.


I forget what day this was- I think it was nearly a week after bringing her in. One of things I always keep in mind is that chickens are pretty social, and don’t like to be alone. And, since Butternut was at the top of the pecking order as flock mistress, I didn’t want her departure inside to be too disruptive to her.

By Wednesday afternoon, we had let her back outside for a few hours in the afternoon. It didn’t take her long to re-establish her place at the top; she only had to rumble one time with Pumpkin. 🙂

On Saturday, I brought poor little Bella back inside in the morning, because Daisy was plucking her under the chin again and she was getting a little pink. You may recall Bella was the one who got so plucked that I ended up putting all the peepers on everyone. I don’t know what it is, but she is one that still gets picked on!

Needless to say, she was scared silly of big Butternut. Butternut took to chasing her around the brooder and wouldn’t let her eat, so out Butternut went! Once Bella needed to lay, it was close enough to lunch time that I put her back outside and let the others out. Besides, I thought it was better to not have anyone in the house should the fridge actually get delivered (which it didn’t).

Almost a week has passed since Butternut has been outside full-time, and I can say that the pluckage on Butternut’s behind was the result of her being bored inside the house with no one to play with. Yep. Take a look.

This was taken Friday (the 17th). This is 3 or 4 days of new feather growth.

As far as we know, Butternut has not yet laid another egg. I’m pretty sure that bloody mess wasn’t a thrown ovary, but even if it was and she never lays another egg, we’re going to keep her. At that point, many folks would send her to freezer camp and then into the stew pot, but we don’t eat our friends.  :mrgreen:

Don’t think I’m all sad and mopey because I don’t have a house chicken any more- because I do! ♥

Despite Daisy (Buff Orpington) still having her peepers on, she has surprisingly been smart enough to continue to pluck. At first, she was stretching her head around, trying to look out the side. Then, after some trial and error, she discovered if she continued to aim straight on, she could still pluck even if she couldn’t see what she was doing. *sigh*

After watching her pluck Sunny (another Buff Orpington) on the perch this morning, I had had enough and brought her in. I *have got* to break her of this habit, and I’ll keep her inside until it works. I am hoping that time away from everyone will bump her further down the ladder which might make her less inclined to start plucking again if she can’t stop. The risk here is that she’ll get bored inside and start plucking herself, but I am running out of things to try besides sending her to freezer camp, which I just don’t think I can do.

Although, if I could, I’d end up with REAL chicken soup……………..  😆

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