Thursday, 14 February 2013

Snow and a poorly hen

 There's some chickens hiding in the shelter. It started snowing just as I went out yesterday morning, and carried on till the early afternoon. Probably just short of an inch worth.

 Silly ponies will not use the shelter, so they have been iced.
Anyway, also yesterday my hen Gladys was looking rather unwell, which was not good as we have just lost a duck. We thought she might be cold as she has been moulting again, or egg bound which is nasty. So Keith brought the dog cage into the bathroom and I put some straw, water and a bit of porridge laced with cod liver oil and cider vinegar in as well. Left her to warm up a bit but still wasn't looking too good, so decided to give her a warm bath which is something many people recommend as a first step if your hen is having problems laying an egg. (Mentioned it to my Mum and she likened it to a birthing pool!) While stroking her, keeping her wings firmly clamped to her sides and holding round the chest, I noticed that her crop was quite hard, Aah, she's crop bound. Checked with the Haynes manual, (Yes, they do one for chickens too) and the Internet. Dried her off and with Keith's help got a small syringe, the one I had for getting the boys medicine down them when they were babies, and squeezed some olive oil down her throat and a bit of water. Massaged her crop gently and put her back in the cage. I was not going to hang her upside down and squeeze the offending matter out of her. Not if I could help it, I would probably choke the poor girl to death instead.
Alden gave me several good reports after he came home from school, as to how she was doing and she certainly seemed perkier. Put a cover over her for the night and this morning she was fine. She had eaten all her porridge, had a poo and was scratching around in the straw. The lump had gone so she went back outside as it's turned quite mild today, so mild I've had the chickens sunbathing!
So here's Gladys in her luxury hospital room. I will have to check her tomorrow as all three chickens have been driving the ducks away from their afternoon treat of mixed corn and eating it themselves. As if it's not hard enough for the ducks to run the gauntlet of the Piggy ponies, they have to try and fend off the Beastly beaks of the three macho chickens! And boy, do they go for them when there's food involved, the ducks just run away.

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