This spring has been one of the most difficult I can remember. No rain, lots of caterpillar damage, and the loss of our barn cat have all made for some discouraging times. Dolley is also still struggling with her bare butt, which she picked clean of feathers during the long, boring winter:

She's still picking at it, so I did a little research and got a recommendation for a topical medicine to use to treat her raw, henpecked skin:

Blu-Kote is, as the name suggests, is a very deep blue. This is important because it dyes the chicken's bare skin a bluish-purple, which masks any red, open wounds. Chickens are notorious for pecking open wounds, and any blood will just make them want to keep on pecking (this is what happens during a cockfight, for example, and is the reason we had to quarantine Abigail that time she hurt her foot). This stuff stains anything it touches, but it definitely masks the redness:

Hopefully this will stop the pecking long enough to let some new feathers grow in. 

Also, any doubts we may have had about who was doing the pecking have been laid to rest. I never really thought the other chickens were picking on Dolley, because she's a boss. But when I came out to get a look at her after Kirk painted her purple, this is what I saw:

Her beak is purple, clearly marking her as the culprit and maker of her own misery. This is not unlike all those warnings we got in elementary school about how if you pulled the fire alarm it would spray you with purple dye so the police could come and get you if you caused a false alarm.

As I just typed that, I'm now wondering if something that I took as fact from my elementary school teachers could possibly be true. I did go to grade school in a building built in 1914, so perhaps they had some very old-school alarms designed to mark naughty children with a badge of shame. Or maybe that's just an urban legend? Discuss.


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