Head Scratching Hens and the Case of the Powdered Chicken

an urban chickenWe’ve just had a couple of days with the chickens frequently scratching at their heads. Our first thought was perhaps we had red mites.  Although in the middle of winter we thought this unlikely.  They seemed to be scratching at their heads every few minutes.

We looked on the internet and through a couple of books that we’ve got and didn’t really find anything conclusive. We looked through the coop and couldn’t see any evidence of red mite. Although to be honest not having seen them before we weren’t really too sure what we were looking for!

We eventually sent off an email to Claire and Bruce from Brackenholme Banties who thought perhaps they could have colds and this was causing the scratching at their heads.

Well, a chicken with a cold, who knew!! We took off outside to check out their nostrils and sure enough all seemed to have bubbles and dirty noses. We took each chicken and wiped them clean and continued to do so a couple of times a day.

We also as a precaution decided to give them a quick dashing of red mite powder – just in case.  Well what a performance! We weren’t sure how to apply the powder so after a considerable time spent researching on the internet we decided to try the method most suggested – holding the chicken upside. I wish I had videoed this!!

Mike very carefully took Roxy, held her securely and popped her upside down. She freaked out for a moment and then as happy as Larry she hung there beautifully stretching her neck up as high as possible, I guess so she could still see the world like normal. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard in all my life. Mike patted the powder around and then set her off on the ground where she proceeded to flap most of it away.

Pretty much the same followed with all the chickens and they all survived. Perky didn’t even freak out. She just acted like it was an everyday occurrence. Within a day the head scratching had stopped and our chickens were back to normal. Phew!


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