Tag Archives: sick chicken

Lesson 1146 – One smart chick

Yesterday while I was covering this event:
I kept getting text messages from my daughter about our Silver Sebright: Isabelle, our little bird who recently had that pox-like infection.Isabelle was cold and lost, so I have her inside, warming her up.Although I knew the wind was teeth jarring and very strong yesterday (I was concerned that some of our chickens might even blow away), how on earth was our chicken lost? I asked my daughter.She was just sitting in the middle of the backyard, not moving.

Okay, I replied. Keep an eye on her.

Next she sent me a photo with this text:

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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.

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Lesson 1133 – Quotable Chicks

Friday’s Quotes for the Chicks



Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow. Helen Keller

Along with fall, change is in the air. Like many others in the tech world, we got caught in the HP re-org and find ourselves, for the first time in a long, long time, on the outside looking in. It’s a shock, but we’ll deal – trust me, in this house we’ve been knocked down before and every time we’ve still managed to get back up.

We’ll do it again. Continue reading

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Lesson 1129 – When a chicken gets sick

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.

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Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care