Thursday, September 1, 2011

Critter Farm Hospital


I've got a sick chicken:

When I walked into the coop the other day, Skippy, my beloved White Leghorn, clearly wasn't well:

I immediately checked her into a private room at the Critter Farm hospital:

I quickly took note of her symptoms: droopy and pale comb, extreme lethargy, no appetite and a weepy bottom:

The only thing she wanted to do was sleep:

After a bit of a nap, she decided she wanted to tour the hospital ward. It was then that I got a really good look at her chicken bottom. Ick:

I needed to get some fluids into her, so after quickly washing off her birdy bottom, I added some poultry electrolytes to a container of water and used a syringe to squirt some into her mouth:

She flat-out refused the syringe, but, thankfully, she wanted to drink on her own. It's the kiss of death if they stop drinking - dehydration quickly sets in, especially with the weepy bottom that she had:

She was very thirsty:

At times excessively so:

She had no interest in her usual favorite treat - sunflower seeds - choosing instead...:

to drink and drink:

Then, despite feeling under the weather, Skippy decided it was time to return to her coop:

She was slow, but very focused:

And headed straight back to her nest box:

I let her spend a few hours there and then brought her back to the sick ward for some special hospital food... yogurt with sunflower seeds:

and shredded cheddar cheese:

The cheese was the real hit. It may not have been the best thing for her, but it was such a relief to see her eat. She really loves cheddar cheese:

Skippy is normally such a busy, active girl, it was touching to see her trying to maintain that routine even while being so sick:

George and I kept a close eye on our girl while she wandered:

But she would never go far before she would fall asleep in her tracks:

George was quite happy to finish off any food that Skippy left behind:

He's a helpful cat that way:

My friend, Lori, who gave me Skippy back in January, said that when one of her chickens had experienced these symptoms, her vet had suggested a course of antibiotics. So, she brought me some for Skippy:

I'd never given a chicken an injection before...:

but I am happy to say that I have learned a new skill:

The needle goes into the padded part of the breast to the right or left of the breast bone:

This will be happening once a day for ten days... and, oh, what a good girl she is. Not a bit of fussing and only a little bit of leg wiggling:

Here's Skippy this morning. Look at those bright eyes and that beautiful red comb:

Turns out, my little girl wasn't ready to leave us just yet:

I'm breathing easier today.

47 comments:

  1. Oh, I'm so glad to read this! I've been thinking of you and your chicken girl. Glad she's perking up.

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  2. my little assumpta has very similar symptoms. i'm beside myself because i can't figure out what's wrong with her; i wormed them and dusted them for mites. i tempt her with special treats like scrambled eggs and cheese, and oatmeal with apples, but she's been steadily declining and stopped roosting.

    what antibiotic are you using?

    i'm glad your girl has perked up!

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  3. Wow, I'm sending all my sick animals to Critter Farm Hospital....I hope my insurance will cover it!

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  4. Yaaah! I'm so happy she is feeling better. I was thinking the worst after reading about Aibileen at The7MSN Ranch.

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  5. Skippy looked so miserable. I'm glad that she is on the mend. I'll keep my fingers crossed for her! Poor thing!

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  6. Wait, Janitabean - what happened to Aibilene?

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  7. Oh :-(... never mind - I found it. I hadn't heard and I didn't think I had missed a blog post. Poor thing.

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  9. Chook, I left you a msg on your blog, too. Skippy's getting .5ml of Baytril once daily for 10 days. Let me know if you want to talk on the phone - have you called Tonya and Kao?

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  10. i haven't called them...i think i'll try to round them up on the pdxbackyardchix group. thanks!

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  11. Your critters are so lucky to be living with you. Poor Skippy looked miserable but looks better now. Whew.
    Continued good luck with getting her better.
    Oma Linda

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  12. So glad she is better! Do chickens like Peanuts? Maybe she deserves a few. :)

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  13. How wonderful to see her looking so much better! Having gone through this with my Claudia earlier this summer (with a sadder ending), I am cheered to see Skippy doing so well. What an improvement!

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  14. I learn so much from reading about your birds. I think I can deal with it, if I ever need to ~ thanks to you and your knowledge-base. I hope Skippy is on the mend...poor girl. She is a real trooper.

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  15. I learn so much from reading about your chicken care. I hope I can do what you do, when needed. I am so attached to my birds now...Skippy is a trooper - hang in there girl!

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  16. Oh I am glad that she is doing better!

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  17. Wow, major improvement! Did you have to get the Baytril from the vet?

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  18. I am glad she is doing ok. Thank you for showing how to inject a chicken. You never know when that bit of knowledge will be retrieved and used. Skippy does look much better. :-) Good job.

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  19. I hope Skippy recovers fully and is back to herself 100%!

    Blessings, Jessica
    blog: blessingsinthecountry.com

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  20. Wow, she really is looking better. You're such a good chicken momma.

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  21. This is wonderful... a "feel good" story.
    I have a feeling that Skippy may fake being sick even after she's well because she likes the special care she's getting. She looks pretty content. I would too.
    That "hospital" of yours is so caring and has such great accommodations. I can tell that she's on her way back to good health.

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  22. Your a great chicken doctor, and it looks like the patient has made a complete recovery. I'm so glad this story had a happy ending.

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  23. Glad Skippy is doing better. What a great hospital you have. I may just check in there myself . LOL

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  24. She really is a beautiful bird. I'm so glad you got on top of what was ailing her!

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  25. oh!!!! you are such a good mommy! yeah for skippy! believe me, chicken poopy bottoms look much better than chow chow poopy bottoms!

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  26. I learned something from this. Thank you.

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  27. Skippy you get better and you are lucky to have such a loving and caring Mom (and kitty)!

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  28. Oh, I do love a happy ending. Skippy looked soooo droopy, poor girl. It would have broken my heart to see her make the long trip back to her coop. What a determined girl, she is. And, George...one couldn't ask for a better companion to while away the hours with.

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  29. Oh Danni, or should I call you Nurse Danni . . . I'm so proud of you. You take on caring for your critters with such love and fortitude. You actually saved Skippy's life and I know in my heart she's ever-so-thankful. She certainly wasn't ready to leave her world on Critter Farm. And, thanks for the reminder that we really need a "First Aid Kit for Chickens" . . . I better google that one to see what we should have on-the-ready should we ever need such a thing . . . we're so new at this chicken-raising game and we love our girls. I'd hate not to be able to give them the care they need if I was able.

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  30. Way to go Skippy! I hope that you continue to feel better.

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  31. Every animal that is lucky enough to live at Critter Farm is truly blessed!

    You are awesome Danni!

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  32. So glad she is doing better.

    About dehydration, with cats, you can inject Lactated Ringers. For a cat it takes about 5-10 minutes. I wonder if that would work with a chicken? Maybe ask your vet the next time you see him or her.

    Here's a how to guide with photos for cats:
    http://www.weirdstuffwemake.com/weird/stuff/pets/cats/sophia/catjuice.html#

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  33. What a beautiful, gentle girl. I'll be rooting for her!

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  34. I am glad that Skippy (and you) are feeling better.I've had sick chickens before and I have done the antibiotic injections too. Scary at first, but gets easier with practice. I've also given subcutaneous fluids to my chickens to keep the sick ones hydrated. Easy to do. You need to get Lactated Ringers Solution (from the vet) and an appropriate sized needle and syringe. You inject about 10cc's into the wing root joint under the skin. The vet can show you how if you don't already know how to do this. It really helps them feel better. I know exactly what Skippy's "weepy bottom" looks like. Keep it clean and dry. Maggots (yuk) can be attracted to to chickens wet/dirty bottoms and cause more problems and infection. The other hens may also try to pick at her irritated skin at her bottom/vent. Not good. I've had both problems with my hens in the past. The vet has had to debride the tissue, remove the maggots and stitch up the wounds. Diluted hydrogen peroxide and mild soapy water works well for cleaning their bottoms.I am impressed that Skippy would drink electrolite solution. Good that you had it on hand. Please let us know how she is doing. I will send her some more healing energy.

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  35. Danni

    Whew! I'm so glad that Skippy is doing so much better.

    Denny

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  36. Oh, Danni! What an amazing post! I love, love, love two pictures the most:

    1. The third one. It touched my heart and I could just hear you talking to her... making her feel better already. *tears in my eyes*

    2. The second to last one. LOVE her bright eyes.

    She's amazing, George is amazing, YOU are amazing. :)

    I hope she's continuing to feel better today.

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  37. you know I'm partial to little Skippy :) You're such a good mama! glad she is feeling better!

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  38. With all the Love & Attention you give to each and every one of your animals they will be certain to heal quickly! ♥

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  39. Danni, I am so happy to read that this post has a happy ending. Skippy is a real "looker" and you, such a dedicated chicken momma. Hope Roxy continues to do well. Thinking of you here at Dog Trot Farm, Julie and Winslow Homer.

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  40. Danni, your medical posts are so helpful and beneficial. Thanks to you and Terry of Hen Cam, I have a fowl first aid kit along with antibiotics. I am so happy to hear your sweet girl rebounded and is on the mend. Yesterday my two year old girl Willa passed away. In three short hours she was gone. Not only is it heart wrenching but quite bothersome due to not knowing the exact cause. Sending greetings from cold, rainy, Maine, Julie.

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  41. Looks like you had plenty of help! ;) You can really tell the sick to after antibiotics that how much it makes a difference. I've never met a chicken who liked cheese!

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  42. Julie, I'm sorry about your Willa...

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  43. I never would have thought it possible to give a shot to a chicken. It's so great you had someone who was knowledgeable and could offer good advice.

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  44. If one of my hens looked like that I think I'd just sit down and cry. I had no idea you could get antibiotic injections for them at the vet. Beautiful story. That second to last photo is gorgeous and she looks like she's doing soooo much better.

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