Tag Archives: chicken care

Lesson 1135 – Update on our sick chicken

still swollen but open eye

still swollen but open eye

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.

Continue reading

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Lesson 1129 – When a chicken gets sick

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Our beautiful, beautiful Isabelle is dying.

It’s not unexpected. She is a bantam Silver Sebright with very little body fat on her and quite frankly it’s a surprise that she’s even lasted this long during our long and bitterly cold New Hampshire winters. There is a reason the “state” birds are so named. Rhode Island Reds, and New Hampshire Reds are all larger birds that carry more body weight than the bantams, the reds tend to easily glide through the colder months, bantams not so much.

Even still, Isabelle persevered and came out the other side of each winter into a warming spring, 5 times in a row.

Isabelle is one of the original members of our flock and when I got her, she was already a year old. In NH chicken years that currently makes her, about 100. We had already started our first batch of chicks and I went to the local chicken swap just to see what was there. In a cage, stood this magnificent creature – “That’s a chicken?” I asked, thinking that perhaps some kind of exotic pigeon got mixed in with the lot.

Not only was she a chicken, but she was also for sale.

I immediately purchased her and brought her home to the family. “You are not going to believe this chicken,” I told everyone, as I opened the box for them to see.

“Let’s name her Belle, after Beauty and the Beast,” offered one of my daughters.

“No, let’s name her Isabelle, so that we can reply “yes” when we hear the question – Is she a beauty (belle)? – (Isabelle?),”  said my son who was taking French lessons in school.

And so with humor and respect, we named our newest flock member – Isabelle.

Isabelle opened our eyes to the world of exotic chickens. I credit her with us looking at and actively seeking different breeds of chickens, not just going for the standard egg layers.

She brought welcomed diversity to our flock. Isabelle is the standout in our flock that *everyone* first points to. “Look at that one,” children constantly say to their mothers. Our little chicken is a teacher to all.

And now Isabelle is dying. She had a growth (it looked almost like a wart) on one eye and now there is one on her other eye. Isabelle is currently blind.

But she’s not in pain and so I haven’t brought out the killing cone yet (but the second she does appear to be in distress I will have it ready, I love this bird too much to let her suffer.)

Although she is not sneezing or having trouble breathing, she is in isolation. We’ve placed food and water in her cage (she’s actually in the ex-rabbit hutch which makes a terrific chicken-ICU) and we’ve shown her where they are located. She can find both and she’s eating and drinking.

But she’s still blind.

A blind chicken will not be able to leave the coop. A blind chicken is not going to make it through the winter. A blind chicken is not going to last long.

For now, I’m leaving her in the rabbit hutch. Several times a day, I go out and check on her, speaking her name gently before I put my hands in the hutch to stroke her beautiful feathers. We’ll all be watching our Isabelle closely and have promised to take care of her, a member of our flock, for as long as she needs us to.

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1124 – Smelly Chicken Coop – what a neighbor can do.

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I recently got this email from a reader who is having problems with his close neighbor’s smelly chicken coop. Read the letter, my reply, and if you have any suggestions, please let us know.
Problems with backyard poultry smell

I’m hoping you can help me with a desperate quandary I have regarding my neighbors.  They have a coop and it is SO smelly.  The backyards are not big and they do have it as far away as they can, maybe 50 yards away from my backyard (maybe less), but the smell is so atrocious that I can’t use my backyard, screened in porch or even open the windows in the back of the house because it smells so bad.  I spent the evening yesterday cooking in the kitchen with the only window in the kitchen shut because I couldn’t take the smell anymore.  It was barely perceptible last year but this year it seems to be omnipresent especially in the afternoons and evenings.  It is especially rough lacking any central a/c as we need to be able to open our windows. Continue reading

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Lesson 955 – *sigh*

Just wanted to let you know that our household has joined the millions of other unadorned households around the world. What was once this:

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Has now become this: Continue reading

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Lesson 953 – If I could turn back time

In the fall we have a family tradition where if you catch a falling leaf and then put it under your pillow, the Fall Fairy stops by during the night to leave you a new pair of (often beautiful and) warm socks in preparation for the coming winter.

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I post this picture now because when looking back through my photos, I saw it and thought, oh to have the days of Fall again. Yup, I’d rather have a brown yard, that needs to be raked (but where I could still wear shorts and a tee-shirt) than this these days. Continue reading

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Lesson 952 – The crow of the cock

(the video should work now, thanks for letting me know there was a problem)

At the Poultry Congress (and I swear, I’m almost ready to stop talking about it) I managed to capture some roosters crowing. In the following clip I want you to notice a few things:

  • As it is with the Grinch – the noise, the noise, the noise, noise, noise, noise! – Poultry shows are *very* loud. I actually feel sorry for the birds who must be overwhelmed by the end of the day (I know I was.) Most of them spend the night in their cages. Continue reading

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Lesson 951 – 100% Male

This duck is supposed to look like this –

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Those red bumps around the bill are called “wattles”,  those of the male being larger and more brightly colored than the females. Their purpose is to allow the males to attract attention from the ladies.

Apparently, this bad boy is all male.

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.


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Filed under Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Chicks, Holidays, Inspiration, Life Lessons, Personal, Quotable Chicks, The Family