Archive for the ‘sick chickens’ Category

A Lulu of a Couple Weeks

September 04, 2009

On the Mend

I can’t believe some of the things I’ve done in the past 2 1/2 weeks since Lulu went to the vet. Trust me, it wasn’t what I signed up for when I decided to get these three girls.

The first day that I gave her meds was quite a trip. I wrapped her in a towel (like the vet tech did), tried to get her to open her mouth and got lots of medicine on my hand. I’m not so sure how much went in her mouth and when we were all done I found out she had pooped on my pants. I had nine more days of this!

She’s now on a regimen of probiotics in the form of plain yogurt with live active acidophilus and bifidus cultures to add good bacteria to her gut. She’s also getting her protein supplement, like a real athlete, in the form of meal worms. Live meal worms in the fridge is not something I do lightly; it really grosses me out. Luckily a friend told me about the freeze-dried meal worms that Mills Fleet Farm sells in the wild bird section. Naturally, the chicks preferred live worms but, as I’m calling the shots, they’re getting the dried ones for now.

Probiotic-Protein Afternoon Snack

Lulu is now back with the rest of the clan, but each morning I still take her in, wrap her in a towel and clean her bottom with warm water. I then blow dry her feathers with a hair dryer, rub a little Preparation H on her vent area, rub the rest of the no-feathered area with Bacitracin for good measure and let her go back out with her friends. Whew!

What’s interesting about this whole episode is the change in Lulu. She’s always been my obstinate one. She embodies the problem child in every family. But early on in this process she seemed to understand that I was trying to help her and has been very gentle and cooperative through it all. She also seems to have gained a little humility. She no longer attacks the other two chicks or pecks at them as they try to eat. She has lost some of her cockiness.

I thought perhaps she’d even let me hold her in the yard now that we had become buddies, but no such luck. She still runs whenever I approach. But come morning, she limply snuggles into the towel as I try to help her recover. After all, she’s a survivor. She’s also my best egg layer—an egg a day—even through this ordeal!

Sick Chick

August 19, 2009

I was once told by a large animal veterinarian to never take a chicken to the vet. “Remember, they’re only chickens,” he said. At the time it seemed to make sense. That was before I had my chicks.

I just returned from taking Lulu to the vet. The reason? She’s missing all of the feathers under her tail. They inspected her and ran some tests and determined her bacterial count was high. The doctor put her on two antibiotics that I have to give by syringe into her mouth. We don’t know exactly what’s wrong and won’t unless they run more tests, but the vet seems to feel whatever it is the antibiotics will take care of it. They did rule out mites and other parasites which is great because I was really starting to feel a little creepy crawly.

The Patient

I’m actually feeling guilty because I think her problem has been going on for some time. In my defense, she’s been acting fine, eating well and laying eggs almost every day. Even the vet thought she looked quite healthy (except for her bottom). Plus, as you know, Lulu doesn’t let me get anywhere near her so I had no idea she didn’t have any bum feathers.

She was actually quite a hit at the vet. They don’t examine chickens often although they do see a lot of other birds. The staff and other patients’ owners kept telling her how pretty she was, which I think she liked. She even had a little dog visit her although she wasn’t as keen on the compliments the dog tried to give her so the puppy had to be taken away.

I’m keeping her separated from the other two chicks for a couple of days to keep her calm and to keep track of what she eats. This afternoon, when I get up the courage, I’ll try giving the drugs. The vet technician made it look so easy….

I guess to a large animal vet who is used to dealing with cows, horses, sheep and goats, chickens may seem inconsequential. But when you’ve only got 3 hens and they’ve become family pets, everything is different. The bill was a lot larger than I expected so she’s now become the golden chick that lays eggs, but I guess it’s just what we do for our pets. It’s just like when we rigged up intravenous feeding for our cat at home every night or brought our son’s rat in for surgery. Even though the rat died during the surgery it’s nice to know you’ve done everything you can to help the animals that do so much for us.