The days are getting longer, even though it’s still freezing and we have 2 feet of snow on the ground. 4 out of 5 of my hens laid today. One of them apparently needs to work on getting back into practice.
I don’t know what is going on with Georgia lately. The other hens take 15-20 minutes to lay their eggs. Georgia will sit there for 2-3 HOURS before she produces an egg. Sometimes she moves around like she can’t get comfortable. Sometimes she appears to be asleep. Sometimes she breathes with her beak open, as if she is doing Lamaze. Is there such a thing as chronic eggstipation?
I am so excited! Ruby laid an egg for the first time since she got sick back in May. She has recovered from “the bug” and been acting fine, just no eggs for a month and a half. I honestly didn’t care about the eggs, have just been glad she’s better. Advice from fellow chicken keepers has suggested that she probably wouldn’t lay for the rest of the season, maybe next spring.
This morning she was being more vocal than she has been in a long time. She kept strutting around in the feed room, eyeing what used to be her favorite nesting spot. I was thinking “maybe, maybe”. Finally she flapped up on top of the shelves and got into her pan. She got right down to business as if there had never been a problem.
It’s these little moments of joy that make it all worth it.
Here’s the history of here illness if you’re not familiar:
May 15 2017.
Poor Ruby is not feeling well. Snotty nose, crusty eyes, very lethargic. When I brought the chickens inside from the rain Saturday, she was standing in the splash zone from the gutter downspout. Didn’t want to come in. When I did chores yesterday she was like this. Full-blown chicken cold. She won’t scratch, she won’t peck, just stands there, hunched up and looking miserable. Called cousin Sandy, who has a lot of chickens, for advice. She said there’s not much I can do for her. Just keep her warm and dry. She will either fight it off or she won’t make it. I did wipe the crusty boogers out of her eyes and nostrils. She did not care for that much. Today I took a syringe and gave her some water so she won’t dehydrate. My poor girl. She did seem to enjoy sitting in the sun after that. Didn’t want to any part of the bed I made for her. But once it started getting dark she came to me. I put her back in her bed and she snuggled right down under the blanket. Any other chicken “moms” have any advice for me?😢
I am cautiously optimistic about Ruby today. Gave her a dose of penicillin orally yesterday on the advice of one of Karen S Roberts co-workers. Obviously won’t help with the viral cold infection, but did seem to help with her secondary bacterial bronchial infection. I have been using a syringe to force water, broth, juice, etc. down her beak. Has not been fun for me or Ruby. But, as she has not been drinking or eating on her own, I wanted to make sure she did not become too weak or dehydrated. I have also been mixing a tiny dose of children’s Similason in with her liquids to help with her congestion. Yesterday she did drink water of her own volition. Stood in a patch of sunlight with her feet in the runoff from the water tub and kept dipping her beak in over and over for almost an hour. I took that as a good sign. I also saw her poop for the first time in days. But, when I went in the barn today, she had not gotten out of bed yet. She did have the blanket off, but had not eaten or tried to get up. Her eyes were less crusty and she was less snotty, but she had been getting herself out of bed until today. Well, since giving her antibiotics yesterday, I knew her little tummy bacteria were probably all out of whack. So, I mixed some applesauce with some yogurt and syringed that into her. The yogurt will help re-balance her digestive system. And it’s the most solid thing she’s had since this started. After getting a few mls into her I put her out in the sun. When Levi got home from school he was very insistent on helping me take care of her. He got a little dish of chicken food and every time she moved he put it right in front of her. And finally she did eat some. I am thinking that’s a good sign. I have also been giving her over-the-counter homeopathic pink-eye drops and I have noticed she was mostly keeping her eyes open tonight, instead of keeping her third eyelid closed. I gave her some more yogurt/apple sauce mixture as I was finishing up with chores. Put her down while I fed the rest of the hens. She actually joined them and helped herself to some scratch. She is definitely not herself, you can tell she does not feel good, still congested and lethargic, but she is acting better than she was. And if she is eating, that has to be good, right? Put her to bed, covered her with her blanket, and she did not snuggle right down and go to sleep. She actually pecked a little bit at her food dish before going to sleep. Fingers crossed that she has turned the corner!
Ruby is definitely on the mend. She was scratching and pecking, eating and drinking on her own today. Snot and eye crust are cleared up. She is still a bit weak and rests frequently, but seems much, much better! She even went to roost on her own, no hay-lined box and blanket tonight. Will still be keeping a close eye on her, make sure she does not relapse, but I really think she is going to be OK.