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Hi everybody,

I just gave my chickens scraps and I was just sitting watching them and I noticed one near me was trying to eat something weird so I got closer and she was swallowing a bone. I could feel it in her throat and tried to get it back up with no luck. Does anyone know what I should do? I didn't find anything on google and so I'm just really desperate to figure out what I should do!

Please let me know if there is anything I can do.

Yolanda
 

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Take a deep breath, hold, then breath out slowly. Repeat. If it helps you to have your eyes closed while you do this, then please do. If it helps to say "Ommmmm" while breathing out, then do so. Done? Good. This is hurting you much more than the chicken. Last year, I might have panicked (first chicks ever last march) Now I have much more confidence in my birds. The bone is calcium, and chickens are VERY good at processing calcium. First it will pass through the craw, where it is slathered with potent digestive enzymes. Then down the throat to the gizzard, which contains small rocks and sand and, yes, pieces of other bits of bone the bird might have swallowed. The strong muscles of the gizzard will grind all of this stuff together, with the craw juices, and in very short order all that is left will be bits of the bones she eats in the future. They even digest the rocks eventually, which is why they keep eating more.

Chickens are amazing little dinosaurs, amazingly smart and seemingly hopelessly stupid at the same time. Just Grit your teeth and look away if what you see them do freaks you out. Then do the breathing exercise. Creatures that still have all their feral instincts will not suicide that way. They want to live, and what does not kill them makes them stronger. I live in Colorado, and never got a coop built, but they have their covered pen (with door open all the time now), and survived the hideous cold of December that we had. I worried so that once I let them out of the pen later last summer, that my cats might feast, so I waited until they were large enough to have a chance. Yes, the cats in question are bird killers, but smaller birds. Turns out, that the precaution I took was the only one needed - it seems the cats may need protection from the hens.

So, the essence of this is, "don't worry, be happy".

I started with eight chicks last March, have the same eight hens now, and I am excited by the thought that they might devour the 2014 elm seed crop and save me having to pull up hundreds of seedling. I love my chooks!
 
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