Living with animals, as anyone with animals knows, means lots of laughs. And the odd drama. Today we had some animal antics involving duct tape.

Our little brown hen went all broody back in September. Just as the temperatures started to go down, and down. Still, she was determined and started sitting on (5) eggs.

She would get off the eggs at the warmest part of the day, around 3pm. Time for a good stretch, preen and wander round the rabbit enclosure.

On this particular day, I was working on winterising the rabbit house. This meant tacking up insulation and then duct taping to stop any drafts. Next thing I know, our little brown hen had managed to get some loose duct tape stuck to her butt. A nice wad of it.

After I stopped laughing myself silly at this comical presentation, she ran me a merry chase in trying to catch her. The hope of course was to get the duct tape off before it got more embedded in her feathers. But to no avail. 

She enjoyed the game for about 5 minutes and then called over the rooster to get rid of me. (When he arrived he proceeded to court her and show off his feathers. Perhaps the offending tape was seen as a sort of weirdly sexy lingerie.)

I waited until the chickens went to bed and she would once again be on her eggs.  The good thing about the nesting box she was in was that when I opened the lid her backside was to me.

I reached in and tried pulling off the tape, but she was having none of it.  So I retreated and researched.

There is a great site called Backyard Chickens. It is inspirational and informative when it comes to taking care of the feathered kind.  Once again they came to my rescue with their experience. Yup, even with duct tape.

The solution – oil. It would appear I was to oil the offending duct taped backside.

Duly encumbered with olive oil and scissors, I headed down to the chicken house the following morning.  To my advantage, because she was broody, she was in a sort of trance-like state on the nest. (Probably so she doesn’t go out of her mind with boredom sitting there so long). 

With oiled left hand and scissors in the right hand I went to work. First oiling and then snipping where a particular resilient feather stayed attached.  All the while trying to be super cautious so I didn’t snip her. Difficult when your sight line is hindered by a mass of feathers and duct tape.

I must say, she was an excellent patient. She stayed calm and quiet the whole time. I suspect if she hadn’t been broody it would have been a very different story.

The ‘surgery’ was a resounding success, except for maybe the odd bald patch. She was back out at 3pm for her typical run around. This time sans duct tape. Not that she even noticed.

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2015-03-03

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