Just a few days ago, I wrote about our little Silver Sebright, Isabelle and how she was dying.Isabelle had developed a solid growth on one eye (it looked like a large wart/tumor that was completely shutting her eye.) She went around for a while with the use of one eye and then her other eye started to swell shut.
What we ended up having was a blind chicken and no matter how much you love your birds, a blind chicken is not going to last long, especially during the winter months when she needs to be able to find her food and water while maneuvering around the coop. No one would have blamed me if I had put her down.
Even still, Isabelle did not seem to be in any pain, so I decided to give her a chance. Though she was completely blind, I decided to hold off and instead put her in isolation in an unused rabbit hutch. I placed food and water in a heavy ceramic dishes in the cage with her (she tipped over lighter dishes when she’d try to find them with her feet) and patiently showed her where they were located. I went out several times a day to make sure she was okay and each time I could tell that she could hear me but didn’t have a clue as to where I was. Normally a skittish bird, she sat quietly and a little scared while I stroked her feathers and talked quietly to her.
Quite frankly I didn’t have much hope for Isabelle. I gave her my version of chicken TLC – protection, water, and food (which included her favorite foods like fruit) and waited. I had my killing cone ready in the event that she started to show signs of distress. I love this little bird too much to let her suffer.
But Isabelle is a smart bird and she had other plans. Soon she figured out how to find her food and water. She nested inside a cardboard box that offered a little protection and warmth and she kept making it to the next day.
After a few days her less swollen eye surprisingly started to open up. She had plenty of bubbles in the eye and would shake her head with wetness (preventing her from rejoining the flock) but a half-blind bird is a bird that *might*, with assistance, make it through the winter. I became cautiously optimistic.
This morning when I went out to check on Isabelle, the “tumor” on her other eye had receded and that eye is also opening up. Like the other one it is wet and filled with bubbles, but now when I put my hand into her cage, she backs away from me.
Isabelle can see.
One bird with an illness is one bird with an illness – several birds in a flock with an illness is a big problem. Vigilance, my friends, vigilance is what’s called for (along with constant hand washing and observance of bio-security measures.)Although it looks like Isabelle may be out of the woods, I’m still keeping an eye on her. I’m just not sure at all of what she had and I don’t want my other chickens to “catch it” but if ever there was a bird who is a fighter and who didn’t want to let go, it’s our little Silver Sebright: Isabelle.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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