I am thrilled to report that Gertrude's eyes are completely back to normal. Well almost. She still has this look to her like she tied one on the night before, but it's a definite improvement to her condition last week. What the problem was? I have no idea, probably some kind of cold. At one point, her eyes were so swollen that I decided to separate her from the other chicks. If you ever want to traumatize a chicken, which I neither advocate nor recommend, just take her away from her fellow feathered friends. Several times we were awoken in the middle of the night to the sounds of desperate, frantic peeping, leaving us wracked with guilt. While Gertrude was on the mend, I attempted to clean out her small quarters. She grasped her window of opportunity, flying out of her box and over into the bigger brooder. Obviously, she was in complete despair for companionship. I let her stay. It just seemed too cruel to keep her away from her flock.
Since the weather had warmed up nicely in SF and the chicks were all relatively healthy, I brought them to the outside run where I blocked off a little area so that they would be safe from getting picked on by the big kids. Petunia was so beside herself with glee that she took a solid 20 minute dust bath. If you've never witnessed this act of everyday chicken life, it looks something like an epileptic fit in that "Oh my God, there's something wrong with my chicken" kind of way. Petunia also chased her peep buddies around the tiny bit of yard, administering harsh pecks if she saw that another bird found a treat. She's some what of - and I hate to say this but - an asshole. I dumped her over to the other side of my makeshift barricade to give her a taste of her own medicine. She made a swift determination that being a little fish in a pond with big fish was not for her. Wanting to return to being top dog, she figured out how to fly back over the wall in order to better reign over her minions. Well I guess she's a fairly bright little asshole. All I have to say is that she better lay some pretty green eggs otherwise she's headed straight for the stew pot. Sounds harsh, but that's life on the farm.