Thursday, August 01, 2013

Defeat

Yesterday Brian noticed one of the pullets acting 'off.' I investigated, and she had classic symptoms of egg-binding. In the past when one of our chickens started ailing, I felt helpless in my ignorance of what to do; this time I researched my options and took action. The website linked above recommended a more involved approach than I had resources for, so I opted to follow the advice given here. I gave the pullet some oral calcium and then gave her a warm sitz bath, which she seemed to enjoy. (I can hardly believe I actually gave a chicken a sitz bath!)

Afterwards, I patted her dry and put her in a nest box, hoping she would be able to pass her egg. She didn't seem inclined to stay there, however, and went back to sitting in a corner of the hen yard.

Yesterday evening at chore-time she wasn't acting any better, so she got another warm sitz bath before being locked up in the warm, dark coop with the rest of the hens for the night. I had done what I could.

This morning she was dead on the floor of the coop, the sad loss of a beautiful bird just coming into her prime. I'm back to feeling helpless in the face of chicken ailments....

Fortunately, everyone else is doing well. This morning they all got plums that had blown off one of our flowering plum trees that rarely fruits.

Then Brian and I caught each of the pullets and Speckled Sussex hens and put different colored legbands on them so we can tell them all apart. Here's Perch, sporting her new anklet:

Not that she needs "jewelry;" her feathers are far prettier adornment than anything manmade could be.






God's handiwork is unsurpassed!

That's it for now from . . .

11 comments:

Kelly said...

Chickens are tough to treat.....but kudos for trying to help her in her hour of need. It's been said that if you have livestock, you will eventually have dead stock and that is as true a statement as I've ever heard. Heart breaking every time though.

Deb W said...

So sorry you lost your girl, but so kind that you tried to help her. I lost my Nigella (blue Cochin) a couple of weeks ago. She was lively, with no symptoms until I found her dead in the coop one morning, but when I picked her up she was much heavier than usual, making me suspect she was egg-bound.

I was offered a job this week!!!!! As a front-office person in a Endocrinologist's office. I have all my checks, tests next Monday, and if they are clear I should start on Aug. 12. There is a (normal) 90-day trial period, so I'm trusting the Lord it will all work out.

Michelle said...

Oh Deb, that's WONDERFUL! Less than two weeks; better spin/knit/garden/preserve like the wind! ;-) Sounds like a good position; praise the Lord.

Sorry you lost a hen, too. I suspect they are much like sheep and other prey animals; they hide their problems well to avoid predation. Really hated to lose one of the pullets; why not the mean Speckled Sussex who has grown spurs, or the Welsummer who hardly lays? Not sure what we'll do about Perch while we're camping this weekend. Asking our chore person to catch and cage her every night may be a bit much, but I'm afraid she could be pecked to death by the time we return if she is put in with the others. Brian wants to take her along in a cage; I KNOW Rick won't go for that!

Michelle said...

We do get emotionally invested, don't we? I think that is as it should be; we were appointed to be stewards by a God of love, after all.

Florida Farm Girl said...

Wow! I never knew that could happen, even though we had chickens while growing up. Maybe it never happened to one of them, or maybe we didn't notice because there were so many out in the chicken yard.

Michelle said...

FFG, I don't remember it as a kid, either. In talking with other chicken owners, it seems that these deaths are more prevalent now; we wonder if it has something to do with hatchery chickens. Who knows, though!

Retired Knitter said...

aww, I had no idea what egg binding was until I read your link. How sad. I am sooo sorry.

However, your chickens are really a great looking bunch.

Thirteen Sheep (Or More) said...

We get so attached, (which makes us good at what we do) it's hard when we lose one.
Great hat, Brian!
Perch could go camping. The Ambassador Chicken!

Beth said...

Oh Michelle, how sad! I never knew about this problem with chickens but you did everything you could do. Wonder if it has something to do with their breeding? Everything these days seem to be so super bred...
Hugs,
Beth P

Michelle said...

Sue and Beth, the USDA inspector that used to do the scrapie inspection for my sheep said that a chicken vet told her that that 40% of hen fatalities are caused by reproductive cancers. Methinks we've done a disservice by breeding them to become 'egg machines,' much like dairy cows have become 'milk machines.'

13, Brian got new boots for riding, so he's back in a cowboy phase. ;-)

farmlady said...

We just lost one of our Plymouth Rocks. She started dragging her rear end and within a few days we found her dead. It's sad and I always think that I need more information to keep these chickens, but I learn one thing and then something else happens.
But I would never get rid of them. I love chickens.
Love the flowers.