Finished! (Sort of … )

It’s sermon writing week, and I’ll be head down at my desk until I have something useful to say, getting increasingly anxious as the week progresses – especially if I’m not making any. Progress that is.

So, although the weather isn’t great today, I cracked on with The Moppet House, knowing that otherwise I would be distracted when I should be concentrating on prayer and writing. One or two jobs were fairly straightforward – the narrow wire panels and the corrugated perspex roofing on the main body of the run. I’d already pinned some chicken wire across the top – it’s not strong, but will add a little support to the perspex.

I couldn’t sleep last night, but while I was listening to the radio sometime after midnight, I was thinking about The Moppet House and made a few decisions about some details I hadn’t finalised. I plan to make another door, in the gap where the wire panel doesn’t really fit. I’ll need to remove the additional strut I put in, but I can cut that down a little and use it as part of the door itself. I’ll need some more wood though, so for now it stays as is. I still can’t decide how to roof the hatch, so today I cut down a piece of corrugated perspex (which was my original intention so I had a piece spare) … it split along the edge I was cutting, but it will do as a temporary job until I have time to explore the alternatives. I need to put a stay on the hatch too – for now I’ve stapled some string in place, and another piece for a handle to lift the hatch. Eventually, I’ll buy some chain and some hooks.

So there are still things to do, but The Moppet House is now in use!

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It started raining just as we began to lift the Moppets across from the Hen Run … it’s the first time we’ve really handled them since they arrived since they are such shy creatures. I do pick them up from time to time … but it was only as DH was handing me a bantam that I noticed her feet …


Oh dear, what a mess :( Not just the feathers, but the feet and claws … is that the start of a bumble foot there? In any case, the foot is deformed with a toe missing. It’s hard to get a clear view under all those feathers, so we immediately decided to give her a bath. I made a quick dash to get a bowl of warm soapy water with Epsom Salts, while DH held the bantam, standing in the rain … she enjoyed the bath, though I’m not sure we got her very clean, she really needed a soak. But by then, DH had another hen, so I handed the first to DD2 for a rub down with a towel and a blow dry (she wasn’t too sure about that, but it could be the way DD2 kept waving the hair dryer around). At this point I began to wonder if we were also dealing with a case of scaly leg mite

We’d already put two bantams in The Moppet House, but we had a good look at the remaining five, trimmed a few claws, and dosed them with Frontline. Frontline isn’t licensed for hens, but will deal with scaly leg mite with just one drop. Advice is that you should then withdraw the eggs from consumption for 28 days … I probably won’t do that, but I won’t pass them on to anyone else.

Now that we’ve had a good look, several of the bantams appear to have similar problems with their feet. Difficulties with foot care was main reason we didn’t want ‘fancy’ hens at all … however, now that they’re here, we’ll do our best to take good care of them.

By then end of the afternoon, we were wet and dirty ourselves. But the Moppets quickly settled into their new accommodation, found the feeder and began to explore. I’ll need to find a way to handle them more often, but for now, I’m off to dry my hair … if I can find the hair dryer …

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  1. Have been spraying stuff for scaly leg mite on my barnevelder with little success I might try a drop of Frontline . Does it matter if it’s for dogs rather than cats? J

  2. Have you tried Vaseline or anything else? I don’t know about dog strength Frontline … but I found out about it by reading the various hen forums – you could ask there.

  3. Sounds like you’ve started a trend of spa treatments for your girls – you are so dedicated, your hens are so lucky to have come to you!


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    Our original hen keeping adventure came to an end in January 2013, when a fox took our entire brood of hens. But don’t let that put you off … you can find the story at The Hen House Archive where there are still lots of stories, photos, and information about keeping hens I hope you'll find useful.

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