Last night when I got home I let the Araucanas out to range freely around the garden. It’s lovely for them to stretch their wings and have more space to scratch about in and I enjoy watching them. They’re always drawn to the house – in particular, the open patio doors and hover just outside somewhat nosily peering in and chirruping away. One day I’ll turn my back and the next thing I know Audrey and Mabel will be perching on the coffee table or the sofa, making themselves at home.
I like to sit just inside the door and stroke their silky-soft feathers. It’s soothing for all concerned, but it’s also a chance to check the girls over. I noticed last night that both hens’ feet could do with a bit of attention. The scales are lifted which indicates they have the parasite scaly leg mite.
When writing the little column for Country Living‘s September issue I discovered that one of the most effective remedies is immersing your hen’s feet in surgical spirit. Drying them afterwards, you then apply Vaseline over the scales to seal them and prevent further attacks. James and I treated the hybrids last weekend – at night to ensure they were docile – but I didn’t think Audrey and Mabel needed it until closer inspection last night. I also discovered, when looking into showing hens (for the August column) that clipping nails can be necessary – and Audrey’s in particular look like they would benefit from cutting. Time for some poultry pampering this weekend I think.