Clop, clop, clop. That’s what I was hearing in the coop the other day. Clop, clop, clop. And after looking around, it wasn’t someone eating off of the floor. It was a little Dominque hen that was wearing clogs. Clop, clop, clop.
Poor dearie. She had hardened mud slippers on her toes and so when she walked around, she strutted strangely to compensate for the ankle-weights.
I picked her up and brought her into the house, leaving my boots at the backdoor while holding her with one hand, then the other. She fussed in my clutch because I wasn’t able to cradle her so carefully while I struggled out of footwear that had melded onto my bare feet. I tucked her under one arm while I filled a plastic bowl up with sudsy, warm water, found a dinner knife, and headed out to the front porch.
We sat on the stoop and soaked her feet for minutes before I made attempts to pick the clay shoes from her little chicken toes. They were like cement marbles, like someone named Rocky had wanted to drop her over a bridge and sink her. Poor thing.
All because of The Fox, you know. The Fox. Menacing our flocks since March, I think. We’ve lost a tragic number this spring and summer. We’ve had to crackdown and keep our poultry confined vs. freeranging, and their yard is becoming squalor whenever it rains. Hence the adobe-shoes.
Soak, pick away with the knife tip, soak, pick away. It took about 45 minutes before the mud softened and I was able to get bits of it to shed. I was trying to be careful not to pull suddenly and break anything. How she had any circulation left, I do not know. Finally the blobs flung off, but not without me being soaked from trying to give a chicken a foot bath. I was covered in the suds & mud we’d created and I smelled poorly.
Hurrah, little hen! We can see your toes again! And I set her free with her biddie-friends, she strangely strutted to join them.
Three days later, she’s resumed a regular gait again, her feet are considerably cleaner than everyone else.
It’s probably the first time I’ve given a hen a pedicure, but I’ll bet it’s not the last.