Because of Easter last weekend, I had Monday off from work. Bookman was lucky enough to have the day off too. It was a chilly day, but sunny and dry so we took advantage of it to do some work out in the garden. The Dashwoods were out and about of course. I had the big pruning shears in my hand and was cutting down errant raspberry canes. I bent down to snip one off at the ground and just as I was snipping, Elinor dives in and…I snipped her beak! She squealed, I squealed and then almost burst into tears as I see her standing there in shock with blood dripping from her beak.
There was too much blood to tell at first how bad it was. Bookman scooped her up, I ran into the house to find out what to do. I was too frantic to find anything helpful on Google, so I grabbed a clean rag and dabbed at Elinor while Bookman called the vet. The first thing to do is stop the bleeding and the vet said to use cornstarch. I poured some into a small dish and stuck Elinor’s beak in it. We watched and waited. When the blood began to well up, more cornstarch went on. Eventually the bleeding stopped.
When we were able to get a good look at her beak, it turned out the snip was a little bit off the side and not straight across the tip. Now that I knew I hadn’t snipped her whole beak off, we calmed down a bit, and let poor, shocked, Elinor go. She wandered around the garden in a daze and stood in the shade. I went back in the house and did some Googling to find out how to treat a broken chicken beak.
Found out about some wound care gel and Bookman went off to get some. In the meantime, I learned that chicken beaks grow continually their whole life and that in a month or two Elinor’s beak will look as though nothing had happened to it. We just need to make sure it doesn’t get infected and she is eating ok.
Bookman came back with the wound care gel and I blobbed it onto Elinor’s beak. We kept a close eye on her for the next several hours to make sure she was doing ok. She wandered around the garden scratching here and there, pecking at bugs and what not, and would then find a shady place to just stand or sit down for a bit. Bookman and I understood, we were exhausted from the trauma of it all too.
A week later of frequent applications of wound gel and keeping a close eye, and Elinor is doing just fine. She’s not mad at me and I am relieved because I felt horrible over hurting her even if it was an accident.
Today, out in the garden with the Dashwoods, I once again had the big shears in hand. I was very careful and made sure there were no chickens diving in toward me as I cut down the suckers the hazelnut tree shoots out. Elinor stayed well clear of the clippers and a few times when I moved toward her and she saw them, she made some panicked clucks to let me know that I needed to be careful. We made it though the day without incident.
And what a day it was. I got the raspberries tied up and more orderly. I got the vegetable beds put together in a new design I am rather pleased about. And Bookman and I planted seeds: peas, beets, spinach, radishes, kale, pac choi and carrots. There is much more to plant but we ran out of row cover fabric to protect the seeds from fowl and squirrels. The turnips, mustard and Swiss chard will have to wait a few days. It’s still early yet so it will all work out just fine.
With the rain last week and the warm sun this weekend, spring has taken a big leap forward. The trees all have a green haze about them as their leaves unfurl. The apple trees have tight pink flower buds on them and the cherry tree and bush cherries are just beginning to blossom. The juneberry in the chicken garden is also blooming with some pretty little white flowers. This is the first time it has bloomed so I am happy it is doing so well.The stinging nettle I planted two years ago that seemed like it was never going to do anything has proven me wrong. It has been busy spreading itself out and is coming up in a meter-wide range around the original stalk. I am very excited about this and looking forward to the sprouts getting a little taller before I start snipping off leaves and cooking them up with dinner. Nettle is very nutritious and can be used just like spinach except eating it raw is probably not a good idea unless pain is a pleasurable thing, which for me it is not.
The walking onion I planted last year is doing spectacularly well. Not only has it come up from where last year’s bulblets “walked,” but it has spread underground too and made itself into a sizable bunch that is tall and green and lovely. There is enough that we will be able to pull up a few stalks to use like green onions. There should also be quite a few bulblets this year too for planting and for using kind of like shallots.
It is so exciting to watch the garden wake up in spring. It offers so much beauty and hope not to mention thoughts of a tasty harvest.