Charlotte is sick. Last Thursday night it was raining and cold. Charlotte decided to sleep on top of the roost box with the rain pouring off the garage roof onto her back. The next day, she was lethargic and didn’t lay an egg. I watched her all day, hoping her health would improve. When evening came, I had to leave for the weekend, so I couldn’t keep an eye on her condition. Monday morning I rushed out to see how she was faring, to find her alive, but still moping around.
I called my chicken friends and was told to put some elderberry syrup in her water along with some electrolytes if I had them. I fixed a quart of black-strap molasses, elderberry and electrolyte water and carried it out to her. She wasn’t all that interested in drinking it, or eating for that matter. Catching her and forcing it on her would have created more trauma than it’s worth, so I left the water near her. I continued to carry out a quart of treated water twice a day and the other two chickens are thrilled to see me coming. They’d run over one at a time and drink their fill. Charlotte wandered over after they left and gave it a sniff. I think she must have drunk some of it because she didn’t get any worse and began to peck around the next day.
My inability to find a method for keeping Rosie and Charlotte off the top of the roost box has left me frustrated. Nothing worked! I tried putting netting up around the top of the box and Rosie managed to get tangled up in it two nights running while Charlotte went back to sitting on the tarp rope.
I tried opening the netting, creating a lean-to shelter up on the roost box for them to get into, and Rosie, being the brilliant hen she is, went through and sat under the eaves on the other side. Charlotte, again, preferred the rope.
My next tactic was to build them a proper roost inside the box for them to sit on, thinking they didn’t like the original bar. The new roost looks like a ladder propped against the back wall, so they can’t crap on each other if they choose to sit on different “rungs”. Then I placed bales of straw on the roof so they would be blocked from getting up there again. Somehow they managed to squeeze through the cracks between the bales. How, I don’t know?!? I’m sure there is a remedy for this dilemma. I hope to find it soon.
Turning the bales up ion their sides and to make them higher and filling in the cracks didn’t work either. I went back out to see where they were when night came and, you guessed it, back on the top of the roost box. I’ll try putting netting around the whole shebang and pray that will be enough to deter them. It’s supposed to turn cold and rainy again, just when Charlotte is feeling back to her old self again. They need to get under shelter. You really can’t fix stupid!