This week we lost one of our six chickens. We never got around to naming them and I can’t really tell them apart so I am not sure what chicken it was. We noticed something was wrong when we found her laying on the ground when the rest of the flock was up pecking at food, making a raucous and being their normal chicken selves. We knew it was serious when we found her laying on the ground at night when the rest of the chickens were roosting.
We moved her to our chicken ICU for close observation and treatment which included Sulmet for coccidiosis, wormer, an individualized feeding plan of pellets soaked in goat milk and vitamin water. She didn’t move around much and had the runs pretty bad. Upon closer examination we noticed she was very thin. I tried feeding and watering her with a dropper and she was able to eat a little so I let her get some rest.
The next day we gave her an antibiotic and noticed she was pretty messy as she had been laying around in her poop. GROSS. I decided to give her a bath as I read it can raise their temperature which can help and if it happened to be a stuck egg (which I couldn’t feel) then it would help her pass it. If nothing else I figured it would let her relax a little because I love a bath when I am sick!
I filled the bathroom sink with warm water and let her soak. I noticed lots of little things floating in the water and upon closer examination I noticed they were coming from her vent area. I have no idea what they were. I looked up different types of worms and parasites and none seemed to match so I am wondering if they were worms (that I just couldn’t identify) being dispelled after I wormed her or if it was a type of maggot feeding on her poop. Either way they gave me the geebies and the sudden urge to scratch mys skin. If anyone has seen this I would love to know what it is – or do I? After her bath I dried her off, fed her some goat milk and water, put her to bed and hurried myself into the shower for a good rough scrub down.
Despite all my efforts when I went to feed the goats that night I checked on her only to find that she was in a very awkward position (head cocked back crooked looking at the sky) and she didn’t look too, shall we say, lively. I made Ross check her (flick her) and sure enough she was no longer with us. I guess I am not the chicken healer I thought I was. Even still, I know I did a lot more than others would have for a no-name chicken (Ross’ idea was to let her loose to fight off the coyotes). Ross is convinced I killed her with kindness which I admit may be true but I make myself feel better about it by knowing that I did everything I could think of and she got to enjoy a nice warm bath BEFORE she died while most chickens don’t get their bath until after they depart and the water is quite a bit warmer 🙂