Spring in the Garden

Spring in the Garden

Saturday, 2 May 2015

From Joy to Sadness in a Week

What a difference a week makes and this last week the difference has not been good.

We had thought our new chickens were settling in well with the two older Black Rocks. There hadn't been the outright conflict we'd seen in the past, but on reflection this could have been because these chickens were younger, and so less assertive, than the last 2 lots of chickens we'd had to introduce to older hens. There had been a certain amount of pecking, but nothing too bad until last Sunday when we noticed Cindy being pecked on the head in spite of her being in a very submissive position. However her head didn't seem to have come to any harm and she seemed happy enough after that.

Monday I was excited because Cindy's comb had grown a bit and, along with her wattles, had turned distinctly red.  When she went up to the nest box around 3 pm I was optimistic that she might lay an egg, but none materialised. It seemed she'd had a false alarm, or maybe a dummy run.
RIP Cindy, right, seen here enjoying a dust bath

Around 6.30 pm I noticed she and Stella had gone upstairs, so went to see what was going on.  I noticed the small, bloodstained egg on the ground first, so it was with a certain amount of foreboding that I peered in and as feared, there were clear signs that she was bleeding and it was obvious that she'd had a prolapse. This was something that had happened back in 2012 with 2 Light Sussex hybrids we'd called Anna and Bella, but they lasted at least 6 weeks. We knew there wasn't much hope for a pullet that has just come into lay which has developed a prolapse. Every time she lays an egg it will all be pushed out again.

As it was evening, we took Cindy indoors and made her comfortable. Tuesday morning I took her to the vet, who reluctantly agreed there wasn't much she could do, and I didn't see any point in prolonging Cindy's suffering, so left her with the vet. It was very sad as she was an attractive, friendly bird and otherwise seemed very healthy.

Wednesday afternoon as I was on my way home from my parent's my daughter phoned to say there was something wrong with Stella's eye and breathing.

Stella's swollen eye. Her other eye was fine.

She and hubby took Stella to the vet the same evening and came home with some antibiotics to be administer twice a day. Do you know a good way to get antibiotics into a chicken? We were unable to follow the vet's advice. There was no way Stella was going to let us poke a syringe of nasty tasting fluid into her mouth.

We made a little indoor pen for Stella, so she doesn't have to go back into the cat basket when we can't watch her every move.

She sipped a little diluted antibiotic on Thursday morning and evening, but we didn't have any success on Friday morning, before going to Surrey Poultry to fetch a chicken to replace Cindy.  Caroline, who runs Surrey Poultry with her husband John said we should bring Stella to the farm and she would look after her for her, feeling sure she could get the antibiotics inside her, so we went back home collected Stella and gave her into Caroline's care. If she is successful and Stella recovers, we shall take her home with a Speckeldy friend. 

Here is where we left her, in her own "private room" at the chicken hospital/nursing home. Even half of it is much bigger than the cat basket. She tucked into the food as soon as she arrived, which hopefully will encourage her drink plenty of the water containing antibiotics.

So we are waiting to see what happens and hoping very much to have our sweet, friendly Stella back home with us fairly soon.

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