If you’re a regular reader of my blog you know about my chickens.
There’s Cheez Whiz …
And if you read my blog really regularly (like yesterday) you know that Cuddles suddenly got sick for no apparent reason last week.
In case you aren’t’ familiar with Cuddles here’s a little background. She’s cuddly. As in, when I walk into their run and sit down on a chair or bale of straw Cuddles will run towards me and jump into my lap. There she will comfortably lay, sleeping and purring, yes purring, until I really have to pee.
I got an astonishing number of comments and emails yesterday as soon as I let you know Cuddles was sick and I wanted to update everyone.
Firstly, she is still alive. I know that’s what you’re wondering about.
Cuddles and I are both trying our hardest to get her through this sickness but I think we’re both aware it’s a long shot.
Thanks to all of you I’m taking every route and precaution possible to give her every chance of a recovery possible. You gave me references, and forwarded my post to poultry pathologists, and poultry experts and vets. Each had a similar diagnosis. Which was it could be anything.
I contacted a local vet that one of you made me aware of who deals in cats but is a poultry keeper himself so is obviously very knowledgeable with hens.
He wasn’t in the office yesterday so I had no choice but to try to keep Cuddles alive and wait. She was steadily declining and unwilling to eat or drink anything. Mainly I sat and held her and syringe fed her electrolytes. Around the middle of the afternoon she obviously wasn’t feeling well, but I saw her go over and take a big drink and do some preening and foraging. That means … she’s not a lost cause yet.
Then there was a knock at the door. I opened the door, unwashed, covered in fecal matter I’m sure, with hair that hadn’t been brushed in about 6 days. Upon flinging the door open, I simply stared at her like I’d just come off a 6 day coke bender. I’m really tired you see. I’ve been up for nights checking on Cuddles. Plus I’d just been on a bender.
Neighbour Sally said she was upset and had been thinking about Cuddles all day at work. She wanted to check and see how she was doing. Not well I said. My purse was flung over my shoulder because I was actually just on my way out the door to see if I could pick up a syringe and tube at the pharmacy down the street to attempt to tube feed Cuddles. My goal being to keep her alive until she could see a vet.
Sally had left a comment on yesterday’s post recommending a farm animal doctor that worked just a few blocks away from me. I didn’t contact him because for the most part farm animal doctors usually deal in large farm animals. Horses, cows, farmhands named Grotto. That sort of thing. Not chickens. But when she mentioned this vet again while standing at my doorstep I thought, meh … I may as well stop by on my way to the pharmacy.
Turns out he is the nicest vet in the world. He admitted he didn’t deal a lot in poultry but gave me a bit of advice and asked if I could bring in a poop sample to analyze. 5 minutes later I was back at the vet with a runny, gross sample of chicken poo.
I left and Dr. Robinson (the nicest vet in the world) said he’d get the results back to me in half an hour. Her fecal tests showed him that she has no parasites, no worms, no eggs, no nothing. He also thought she had properly working kidneys and no signs of coccidia (a relatively common chicken disease).
His advice was to take Cuddles off of the antibiotics because from what he could see there was no reason for her to be on them. He said the only thing I could do now (barring extensive x-rays and testing) is make sure she eats. He gave me a few recipe ideas, told me exactly how much feed she needs per day and said to gently syringe feed her.
This is how that turned out.
Surprisingly well actually. Because now we matched. Cuddles also looked like she just came off a bender. She had no interest in any food yesterday, but once I got a syringe of gruel into her she started pecking the blobs that had dropped onto her chest and eating it on her own. I fed her the prescribed amount and felt good about it. At least I knew she wouldn’t starve to death.
Cuddles retired about an hour and a half earlier than she normally would and went to rest on her roost.
Today I will do the same syringe feeding. And tomorrow. And the next day. Until Cuddles lets me know she just doesn’t want to do it anymore or a vet tells me otherwise, I will keep doing it.
I wanted to thank everyone who left a comment of support, a recommendation or sent an email saying they were thinking of us. I want to thank everyone who even thought of Cuddles throughout the day.
The Internet can be a horrific tool for spreading lies, misinformation, bullying and general poor behaviour. The Internet breeds thigh gap insecurities.
But the Internet also breeds hope and help …
… along with those ridiculous pictures of thigh gap.