Monday, June 14, 2010

The Adventures of a Sick Chick

Caution: this is about a sick chicken. It may contain graphic descriptions that may not be pleasant.

A few days ago I discovered that we had a sick chicken. I could tell that Atta Girl had a yucky poop covered behind, but didn't think much of it. That is until I saw that flies were following her around and seemed to be swarming her. Flies do not normally follow the chickens around. So, I caught her to get a good look at her. I could tell that her backside was not well, but being only me as Dave was at work, I couldn't get a good look at her.

Friday night two of my friends from college came over and I forced Hunter to help me get a good look at her. I caught her, he held her and I hosed her down and saw that her rear side was covered in maggots. My poor girl!!!  Rebecca got a photo of us in this process that is probably somewhere on the internet. I coated her rear in diotemaceous eath- it helps prevent larvae from hatching, but I now know doesn't do much once they are present. I called my friend Laura who is an avian biologist and waited to hear what she had to say. She said that we did well and to keep an eye on her.

Saturday morning came around and we were getting ready to go to Dave's cousin's wedding in Boone NC. When I went out to check on my girl she wouldn't leave the roost and her backside was absolutely covered in maggots. (Note that when I say backside, I don't mean her vent-where she poops from. I mean the area below her vent.) We went into action to try to do something for her. A fellow chicken owner said that flea and tick spray would kill the maggots. He also had a prescription for antibiotics for his chickens that he called a refill in for near me. He figured that she had an infection that drew the flies to her in the first place. Off I went to the store while Dave packed. When I returned, we got to work.

Dave and I hosed her off again then sprayed down her rear side with flea and tick spray. As the maggots fell off we could see just how many there were. My poor baby! Of course, I got no photos of this process, but it is probably for the better. After a couple of dousings she seemed pretty maggot free. I used a hair dryer to get her feathers nice and dry. We didn't want her body temperature to drop. We then poured hydrogen peroxide all over her backside to kill whatever we could. And then I dried her off again. Most of her feathers were missing from her backside. I felt like a really bad mom that should have done something sooner. But, I didn't know!! And I keep thinking if she wasn't a pet she would have been killed. We gave her antibiotics and Dave drove her over to my mom and dad's while I got ready to go out of town.

I think that I worried the whole time that we were gone. My mom assured me that she was resting and even a little bit feisty. We picked her up on Sunday afternoon. She seemed happy to see us. Ok, not happy, but we were familiar to her.
Dave fashioned her a cage in the dining room. She can't go outside for awhile. She needs to be in a clean environment while she is healing. Here she is getting adjusted to her new surroundings.
She has a roost, room for food and water and enough room to walk around a bit. She mostly sleeps on the roost. I know that she misses her sisters. You might also be wondering why put her in your kitchen/dining room? Chickens get lonely if they are isolated. Sure we could put her away in a room, but she wouldn't see us very much. Many times when they are isolated that is when they give up. Not Atta Girl!! She will be seeing a lot of us. And Lleulu.
Lleulu still thinks that it is all about her. Can't you tell? Look at the look that she is giving me! I got out the camera and she wanted her picture to be taken. Silly kitty. She isn't quite sure what to think about a chicken in the house. She knows them from when they were little and looks at them from the back door all of the time. This is a little different though!
What cute sisters!! I'll be keeping you posted on Atta Girls progress. And if you want to see a chicken in the kitchen that isn't in the freezer or a pan come on over!! We love company!


Carli Youndt said...

I love hearing about your girls!

Julie said...

how traumatic! I hope she makes a full and speedy recovery.

Meghan said...

EW. ;-)

good job.

But...and no pun intended there...I will forever call Atta Girl Maggot Booty.

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