A Sticky Situation

Why is it always the Speckled Sussex that get into trouble? A couple of days ago I noticed that Florence (the smallest, fastest and smartest of my three Speckled Sussex hens) had something yellow hanging from her bottom. Was it a broken egg? A prolapse? Some horrible, infected wound? I scooped her up and found this:

Florence had gotten tangled in a fly strip.

Along with keeping my barn very clean, and composting the manure, my first line of defense against barn flies are these low-tech, inexpensive and very effective sticky ribbons. I hang them up high, and, I thought, out of the way, where the hens, being fat and not exactly agile and aerodynamic, never go.

Perhaps there was a large, buzzing horsefly that was just too tempting for a curious and hungry Speckled Sussex. I’ll never know. What I do know is that it took quite a bit of careful snipping to remove the sticky strip. Florence was shorn of quite a bit of her fluffy under-feathers. I carefully clipped at her wings. A pile of feathers fell at my feet. Surprisingly, she looks no worse for her adventure.


  1. I hope the fly, or the lovely view from the window, was worth it! What a mess. She looks beautiful now that the whole episode is over.

  2. I can’t believe she came out looking normal again…what mess…woulda scared the heck outta me too!

  3. Oh, Florence. You are so lucky to be one of Terry’s hens! Better not press your luck.

  4. I see a hop to one window sill and then to the other and then a hop right into trouble.
    I suspect she saw a fly buffet on the strip and couldn’t resist.

  5. Oh poor chicken. My husband got tangled in one as our coop is lower and poor guy had to shave it off his arm. It would not come off for anything. Needless to say he didn’t think it was funny.

  6. Oh, dear ~ ~ This reminds me of the story my mom told about the time when I was about 4 and was upstairs in the renter-woman’s apartment. Evidently I couldn’t resist parking my gum onto her beaver coat that lay on her bed. I guess the cleaners were able to successfully remove the gooey-mess because she wore the coat long afterwards!

  7. curiosity got the best of Florence! But she looks good now.

  8. It’s amazing how awful it looked but how good she looks now, well done for getting her back to looking perfect as if it never happened. You never know what will strike next!

  9. They really are idiots aren’t they? Her face in that first picture could be my Bibby. They always have the air of a hen denying anything has even happened. Foot in yoghurt pot? Stuck backwards in pop-hole with arms up behind head and another speckled Sussex wedged underneath? Seemingly trapped under flipped-up plastic tray of porridge when in fact only head was covered? Bibby. Always Bibby.

  10. What a story and some adventure for her. She must have flown up on the ledge and either didn’t see it or didn’t realize she’d get stuck to it. Lucky for her she had enough under- feathers so she doesn’t look plucked. Hopefully, this won’t happen again.

  11. Oh dear. Hens always manage to get in trouble. The dishes they have broken in getting their greedy beaks inside, searching for the food they have just gobbled down…… But they are always convinced there’s some they’ve missed. She still looks pretty though!

  12. I had this happen to one of my hens a couple years ago when one of the strips came unattached. What a sticky mess. I tried bathing her and ended up cutting off the gooey feathers. Needless to say, I am more careful when hanging these things!

  13. You should try hanging some clear plastic bags, half full of water with some pennies in them. The flies seem to stay away from them and you won’t need the fly paper.

  14. I had the same thing happen to one of my hens, I used peanutbutter to get the sticky mess out, it works for gum in hair so I gave it a try and wah-la.

  15. Ouch, I am glad she is okay and that is is summer so she won’t get cold. Animals do have tendency of finding trouble. I remember as a kid my first cat got into the tooth paste and got it all over her fur, bathing that out was not fun. One of the videos I was watching on youtube, the was saying he uses this non pesticide thing with water in it that catches flies, they are a bit more expensive but seem to be chicken proof. Maybe this could be an alternate, though he lives in Canada so I don’t know if the products he uses are avaible in Mass.
    I think he said they were 17 dollars a piece or for two, but they work real well, and act as a water trap to drown the flies and kill a lot of them.

  16. I never believed it when I read about it on Backyard Chickens: someone used vanilla-scented car freshener in their chicken coop to keep out the flies, the kind that you hang from your rearview mirror. It became bad enough last summer that I decided to try it and I couldn’t believe it…it actually worked. I have a fairly small coop (4’x8′) and used 3 of the fresheners hung right on the ceiling beams.
    Worth a shot!

  17. Oh Florence! Fly strips are so STICKY! But I have to admit – I did have a bit of a giggle and then was impressed seeing the very tidy “end” result. Good job!

  18. I LOVE this! We had a horse do the same thing with a flystrip and his mane. He just had to check to the buzzing noise!