You may have seen cute pictures on the internets of people who have chickens who live inside their homes like pets. The scamper about in dust mask diapers or even fancier ones looking adorable and making endearing noises to be held or fed. Our house chicken isn’t that kind of a house chicken. One day when I went out to feed the chickens this winter one of the SLW was limping. So I scooped her up and her leg was all red and mangled looking with swollen toe and dark skin. So I brought her inside for a soak to see if we could figure things out. After drying her off it appeared she had fallen asleep in the snow and possibly frozen to it. She had frostbite down the back of her leg from the knee joint down her foot with the middle toe being very bad-black skin that definitely showed the presence of dead tissue. She couldn’t go back outside with the flock-they’d never let her eat if she could manage to get around enough.
After I slathered her leg with salve I wrapped it in vet wrap, including around and between her toes so they would stay clean. I then refreshed the last popup crate we used for chicks and set her up inside with fresh water with vitamins/electrolytes and mash with tuna and BOSS. Our front room isn’t super toasty, but its warmer than outside by far and its got a nice window for sunlight. Every day at first I had to unwrap and rewrap her leg after cleaning it again. She didn’t mind the soak, but cleaning was not her favorite thing. Her leg cleared up first, the dead scales sloughed off after new stuff came in under it. At that point I was changing the foot wrapping every couple days-still layered with salve. Her toe got darker and the end fell off, leaving her with a nub to get around on. Her other toes seem to have grown farther apart to help stabilize her weight better.
However now that she was healed it was still the middle of winter. I couldn’t just toss her back in the coop, she was too used to the warmer front room. So until its warm at night for at least a couple days I’ve been living with a mouthy SLW in the front room. She squawks when I get home from work demanding food. She sings the egg song at the top of her voice when I’m trying to sleep in on a weekend. She doesn’t get to roam the house though. I take her out to free range for a bit, she can’t move as fast anymore. She definitely looks amazing from being pampered inside and getting fed first and not having to share with anyone.