An update on Cuddles

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you know  about my chickens.

There’s Cheez Whiz …
Walnut …




And Cuddles.

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.

Just kidding.

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.





  1. Laurinda says:

    {{HUGS}} For you and for Cuddles!

  2. Kat says:

    You’re doing it just right! One of my go-to foods for sick hens is creamed corn. It won’t fit in a syringe, but if she get nibbly, you might give it a shot.
    Hang in there, chicken mama!

    • Karen says:

      That’s a good idea. There’d definitely be lots of sugar for energy boosts! I just whirr everything up with a stick blender anyway so I could easy add creamed corn to the mix. I also cooked up some pumpkin today which the vet said would be very good for her too. Thx. ~ karen!

  3. Becky says:

    Good luck with all of this. One of my hens died this year… I noticed she was acting funny, and she was gone 30 minutes later.

  4. Cathy says:

    Cuddles is making my heart hurt; there’s always that one patient you do everything for, and he/she stays with you till they get over the hump. I wish I could be there for you if for no other reason than to feed YOU which I know you haven’t tended to since she got sick.
    Take care, my friend.

    • Karen says:

      Oh don’t worry about that Cathy. I haven’t slept in a week but I’ve been eating. I always have food in the freezer. Tonight I pulled out a slice of goats cheese and leek tart and had it with squash, green beans and zucchini from the garden. Not the menu I was supposed to have this week but I definitely can’t complain. Thx for thinking of me! ~ karen!

  5. Lisa says:

    ~ so happy to hear Cuddles is hopefully on the mend ! Sending positive healing energy your way !

  6. Cyn says:

    Love Cuddles’ thigh gap! Rootin’ for her in the southwest desert…

  7. monica says:

    C’mon Cuddles, you can do it! We’re all pulling for you!
    You, too, Karen.

  8. Heather N says:

    I’m so glad that she’s eating. I’m crossing my fingers (and my imaginary thigh gap) that she pulls through and makes a complete recovery!

  9. Stephbo says:

    It sounds like she’s not totally giving up yet if she’s pecking up the slops. I know it’s hard to see your baby like this. Hang in there, Karen.

  10. Bobbi says:

    I am so sorry about everything you have had to go through, but Happy, Happy, Happy that Cuddles is eating via syringe and able to get herself to bed. I love the support you got here yesterday and today. I don’t know much about chickens, but I do know that your chickens are loved and cared for and important to you. Wishing you ALL all the best. Get some sleep.

  11. Grammy says:

    Last night when I saw your post I decided the best thing I could do for you was to stay out of the way so the people who had actual useful information could post and you didn’t need to stumble over my ‘best wishes’ to get to the info that could save Cuddles.

    I kept checking back and seeing all the wonderful people who were trying to help you in numerous ways and I felt the same thing you just mentioned — that the Internet can be a wonderful place if you choose to hang out with the right people, just like in real life. You attract good folks, Karen, so the response was terrific. And I now know far more about chickens than I thought there was to know!

    We are all (even us useless ones) thinking of Cuddles and you. Thanks for taking the time to update the story. I hope Cuddles responds well and quickly and you can get some rest.

  12. Barbara H. says:

    So sorry for the torment for both you and Cuddles. You’ve both been in my thoughts even though I didn’t comment yesterday. I wanted to not get in the way of commenters who had actual information for you. Thanks for the update. I’ll be thinking of you both in the days ahead.

  13. Joanne says:

    Karen, I’ve never posted before, but I read your blog and worried about Cuddles all day. I’m taking care of my neighbors chickens this week while they are out of town. Today I took extra care during my cleaning, gave a few extra hugs and realized these little ladies take much more care and attention than most people think. What will be will be, at least you know you’ve done everything within your power to give your girls a good life. I hope you get to spend many more hours with her sitting on your lap. Try to remember to pee before you go to the coop 😉

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanne! Thank you for commenting today! I like to hear from new people. Good luck with your neighbours chickens and have fun with them. Chickens are 95% fun and 5% worry. ~ karen!

  14. Suzy R says:

    So glad Cuddles is still with us! Hang in there, both of you!

  15. Edith says:

    I’ve thought about you two many times today and was a little afraid to open your post just now. I’m so relieved she is hanging in there. You really are doing all you can and that’s so wonderful. Crossing my fingers that Cuddles will get hungry and healthy soon.

  16. alisa says:

    At least she’s feeling loved. I absolutely, completely, understand what you’re going through, because my hen Ellie is my most beloved animal, and I’ve had to nurse her through a number of scary illnesses that just tore my heart out. She always made it though….and so I have hope for Cuddles.

  17. Robin C. says:

    Hi Karen,

    Glad that Cuddles is still working on getting well. My beloved dog Snoopy got extremely sick last summer – brought him in for blood work and then hours later the vet called and said “he is a very sick dog and my not make it” His kidneys were failing as well as the rest of his organs. What a horrible, helpless feeling! After him being in the ICU for 2 days and not improving, we finally came to the conclusion that he was exposed to salmon poisoning from eating raw trout – who knew that apparently there is a very rare bacteria found in some fish that swim upstream (salmon & trout) on the west coast only that is very deadly for dogs. After putting him on the proper antibiotics, luckily he improved. It took over a month for him to fully recover, but now he is back to hims old self. My point is – you are doing what you can do – and most importantly, you’re not giving up and losing hope. Here’s to Cuddles and a full recovery! What an adorable chicken!

    PS – on an unrelated topic – thank you so much for the heads up on the foot pedicure “machine” – changed my feet forever!!

  18. Lynne says:

    Karen – thanks for the update – I’ve been thinking about your wee one today and wondering how you both were faring. I have two cats and when they’re not well I tend to go squirrelly (not literally). We love our animals dearly and when they aren’t well neither are we. Sending good thoughts your way.

  19. Serduszko says:

    Thanks for the update… You two have been on my mind all day! Glad you went to see the vet and he was able to help. (Is he single? L o l!). Go Cuddles! Go Karen! (And get some sleep!). 🙂

  20. Dot says:

    I know that Cuddles is getting the best care possible because she has you as her nurse. Sending positive vibes to you and Cuddles.

  21. Missnicoleo says:

    Cuddles is lucky to have such a caring mama!

  22. Debison says:

    Praying for Cuddles recovery. And for you too Karen. It is so hard when our pets are not feeling well. And worse, they can’t tell us what feels bad. I know you will continue to do what is in the best interest of Cuddles.

  23. Mark says:

    I don’t know much about chickens, but have raised parrots – which aren’t too far apart on the evolutionary tree. I’m sure you’ve ruled out egg binding, but just in case you haven’t I’m forwarding the link below. Cuddles symptoms don’t exactly match, but birds are funny about hiding symptoms or even the hint of being sick for fear the flock will, well you know.

    Hang in there you two and hope the best for you.

  24. Christy says:

    Go Cuddles! You are one lucky chick to have your mom. Hang in there Karen. It doesn’t matter if our loved ones are covered in fur or feathers. They are just our family.

  25. Liz says:

    You are awesome. You’re gonna write a book. Cuddles, crashes, cucumbers, and all. You’re my favorite.
    Glad to hear to the good report 🙂 🙂

  26. shuckclod says:

    Glad to hear all the good news. I did think about her today as I was picking up feathers from my neighbors past chickens. They don’t have them anymore, they didn’t take good care of them. They got removed, but the mess is still there. Keep eating Cuddles and get well girlie. I am going to use her colors for my fall scrapbook kit. Is it okay to use her picture on a brad?

  27. Pati Gulat says:

    I, too ,was afraid to open the Cuddles update but glad to see she appears to be doing better. Praying for you both, Karen. My first pet EVER was a Road Island Red. I named her Red (I was 9, what did you expect???) . I know you are doing everything you are supposed to do and Cuddles probably knows that too since she appears to be instinctive about sentiment, hence the compassion for the leaving of the fella. ; ) I will keep praying that all turns out well and please keep us all informed. We follow you and the girls for a reason…it’s cos we care VERY much… 😉

  28. Sarah says:

    Oddly enough, I dreamt about Cuddles last night. Glad to hear she’s hanging in there. You do the same, okay? Hugs to you both.

  29. ruth says:

    Aw cuddles. All my best wishes!

  30. Cynthia says:

    Chickens…..a huge life lesson in a packet of feathers with googly eyes. Love and worry, protectiveness and pure joy. Everything we need to learn. Life lessons suck big time….but make for wonderful humans. Hugs. x

    PS I am sitting here with 6 silky chicks beside me and it’s all your influence Karen. You gave me the bravery to try one more time.

    (I lost my son 14 years ago and loving any living being brings fear and joy and is always scary.)

    You reminded me that it’s worth the fear to get the joy.

    Does it matter if my thigh gap is lopsided? I’m 60, give me a break guys.

    • Patti says:

      Hey! At least you have a thigh gap! I’m 32 and I don’t! 🙂

      Sorry to hear about your son. I’m glad Karen was able to inspire you to get some chickens – life is for loving, right?

  31. GiGi says:

    We lost our beloved Sadie two days ago. My heart is broken. I pray you and Cuddles will be spared this pain.
    You have a lot of people rooting for you two!!

    • Karen says:

      Im so sorry you lost Sadie. When you mention you have a sick chicken to people people tend to giggle because it sounds funny. They don’t understand how they’re pets with personalities that you genuinely love. ~ karen

  32. Debbie says:

    Good job. Best Chicken Mother ever. We will keep the good wishes coming.

  33. SeaDee says:

    The most prayed-for chicken on the planet. The Internet holds you both close.

    Bok Bok!

    • Louise says:

      Exactly what I was thinking, SeaDee! With all those prayers and good thoughts from all around the world, Cuddles just has to get better!
      My teenaged son and I are pulling for you, Cuddles!

  34. Catherine says:

    So glad Cuddles is hanging in there, she must know how much you love her. Keeping everything crossed she pulls through.

  35. Zoe says:

    Sending hugs to Cuddles

  36. Kate says:

    I don’t know a darn thing about chickens, but I’m sure rooting for Cuddles to pull through. I thought about your plucky girl today and so hoped she’d made it through another 24 hours, so I was really cheered to read this. Hugs to both of you.

  37. Bonnie G. says:

    I haven’t been around the last several days but am now catching up and reading about Cuddles…. so sorry to hear what she has been through and glad to hear about signs of improvement! Take care of yourself so you can take care of Cuddles. … will continue to send prayers and positive thoughts your way.

  38. Missed the original post, but glad to hear Cuddles is doing well (eating ==), fingers crossed your nursing skills bring her back to full health. Hard work Karen!

  39. Beth says:

    Glad to hear that you’re all still hanging in there – when I had a sick hen, I would bring her inside to the back hall, in a dog kennel (“intensive care unit”) – with fresh bedding it didn’t smell too bad and I could more easily monitor her. I learned that chicken lice don’t stay on humans, but I have no idea what “thigh gap” is! Take good care of yourself and Cuddles.

  40. Cherí Bashlor says:

    Sooo excited she’s eating!!! Praying for a speedy recovery!!

  41. Phyllis says:

    Thinking of ya’…..

  42. Bonnie says:

    Thank you for the update. My good wishes for you both.

  43. Peggy says:

    I don’t know if you would consider an animal communicator and healer, but Bonnie Illies is excellent. She has done work on all animals – even a turtle in India. You can check her out at She is a truly compassionate person dedicated to healing of all animals.

  44. Maureen Locke says:

    Just got up and had to come and check on Cuddles. I’m so relieved to hear that she is still with us. Sending healing thoughts for Cuddles and hugs for you. Hang in there.

  45. Tigersmom says:

    So, glad to know she’s showing signs of improvement. And that you are able to utilize humor again. That, to me, has always been nearly as good an indicator of the current conditions as poop.

    And you are soooooooo right about the internet. The tools that are the most powerful when used for good are just as powerful when used for bad. Nice to see good in action here although I wish it weren’t necessary.

    I’ll continue to pull and pray for you both.

  46. Sally A says:

    Yea Cuddles! I’m sorry you don’t have a definitive answer yet, but so glad you were able to get her poop checked. At least you can rule out some things. I hope you will be able to see the other vet today! I thought about not commenting yesterday because like Grammy and others I felt since I know nothing about chickens I should stay out of the way, but I get so desperate to help that I have a bad habit of sticking my nose in things i have no business sticking my nose in. So hope I wasn’t an annoyance!

    Anyway, Go Cuddles!! Good luck and please keep us updated.

    PS Cuddles and I have very similar legs, however I do not have her sexy thigh gap. I must learn her secret.

  47. Dagmar says:

    Thank you so much for the update, you sacred soul. Anyone who can syringe feed an animal, clean animal poopies, and treat these little beings: whether they be chickens, parrots, cats, ferrets, dogs, hamsters, bunnies, or even squirrels -anyone see that video where the guy saves the drowning squirrel? Animal people are built differently, with some added fur or feathers in our hearts. And you are right Karen, she is your baby, not just a chicken. We’re pulling for you Cuddles

  48. Su says:

    thank you for the update…. I have no experience with hens but I’m glad to hear that Cuddles is still with us….

  49. sue says:

    Glad to hear that Cuddles is holding her own. I kept thinking of the power of the internet while reading the comments you received yesterday. I was also reminded how we can all rally for good. Best of luck!

  50. Tracey says:

    That’s encouraging news….I’m still in bed, just woke up and the first thing that came to my mind was Cuddles.
    Thank you for the update. I’m praying for Cuddles. She is a wonderful companion.

  51. Kathy Gervasio says:

    Best wishes to Cuddles for speedy recovery.
    The thigh gap photo/comment will make me smile for a long time. 🙂

  52. Lyn says:

    Glad a cuddles is hanging in there, I so hope she makes it through this! Honestly, the first thing I did this morning, was check your blog for an update…

  53. marilyn says:

    awww thigh gap ….so funny hang in there karen xoxo

  54. Nicole2 says:

    Hugs to you both. Love the Cuddles.

  55. Ann says:

    Glad to hear that you ruled a lot of things out and took her off unnecessary medication. I would suggest adding really good quality plain yogurt to your blended food. Normally they love yogurt and will eat it up faster than a speeding bullet. But it should help re-establish her gut flora.

  56. mickey says:

    Hugs to you both. Hang in there, Cuddles!

  57. Ruth says:

    Glad to hear Cuddles is still with us, and on the mend…. and I’m also glad to see that you haven’t lost your sense of humour in spite of the crisis. (Thigh gap… *dead* LMBO!)

    {{{HUGS}}} to you both. 🙂

  58. TC says:

    Awwww, hang in there Cuddles!

  59. Good luck both of you. Hope everything goes well.

  60. Ev Wilcox says:

    I too did not put my 2 cents in yesterday like “Grammy” (Hey, I’m Grammy too!) because you had enough to deal with, and I know nothing about chickens. Being an animal person I sure do get the love part though. Have been keeping a good thought for both of you and will continue.

  61. cary says:

    hi karen. i’m so glad cuddles is still hanging in there. do you know what milk kefir is? it’s a cultured milk product that’s filled with probiotics. i make my own with these little things called milk kefir grains. my husband, dog and i drink a cup a day, and i give a cup to my 3 girls every day. they love it. and it makes me feel good that they are getting probiotics. i wonder if anyone near you has some kefir grains (symbiotic cultures of bacteria and yeast, aka scobys) that they would share with you? they reproduce quite readily. if i lived near you i would be at your door with some. but i’m in north carolina. i know you can buy kefir at the store, but i don’t kmow how healthy it is. probably filled with sugar 🙁 if you think you might be interested, maybe ask around? just a thought.
    hang in there. both of you 🙂
    btw “girls” = chickens

  62. Jean says:

    . . thigh gap and chicken poop! Please keep us posted. I must say I’ve never felt such concern over a member of the poultry family before.

  63. Sherry (BTLover2) says:

    I’m relieved she is holding steady. This is how love works… Chicken, dog, cat, snake, hamster… When you care enough about a living, breathing being to do whatever it takes to make them well. Cuddles is in good hands — a mother’s love is the best medicine! Hope you’re able to get some rest now. Thinking of you both!

  64. Anne C says:

    Thinking of you, both of you, since yesterday. First I felt kind of useless to say just that, with no piece of advice at all. But now I feel the urge to write those simple words down… So sorry. And so hopeful, too. Courage ^_^. Anne

  65. Jody says:

    Tears of relief. I was afraid to read your blog this morning. Hooray for Dr Robinson. I don’t have any new words of encouragement–just keep at it.

  66. Luanne says:

    I’m very pleased to hear you and Cuddles are working through this illness together. Your syringe feedings bring back memories for me. I had a 7 year old love bird that was diagnosed with avian TB. After 6 months of daily syringed meds, a lot of worry, washing up, and trips to Guelph, she was fine and lived another 12 years.

    ** Martha Stewart would probably suggest matching aprons for you and Cuddles to wear during her feedings.

  67. Nicole says:

    Get well Cuddles!

  68. Ann says:

    Hang in there Cuddles!! Sending prayers and hugs

  69. Gretchen Sexton says:

    I leave my well wishes with the rest of your internet crew! So much of what I would say has already been said (and much better too). Know that you are both being thought of and cared about from the deep south. It seems like you have done everything you can possibly do, the rest is out of your hands. (Hate it when that happens…). Hang in there you two!

  70. Kim C. says:

    Here’s hoping that Cuddles gets stronger with each loving morsel of food. You are a wonderful Chicken Mama/nurse Karen. 🙂 Glad to see you still have your great sense of humour or maybe that’s the lack of sleep! Crossing my fingers and nonexistent thigh gap too!
    Thanks for the update.

  71. Melissa in North Carolina says:

    Thigh gap, really…so relieved your humor is back. That means things are looking a bit brighter today. Hope you both got some much needed rest last night. Praying!

  72. Karen C says:

    Hang in there Cuddles. You are getting the best care possible. Praying for you both. Take Care Karen.

  73. Carol Hogan says:

    Thanks for the update. Thinking of you and Cuddles for sure. Sending positive vibes your way. Hang in.

  74. Jennifer says:

    Hi Karen,
    I haven’t read through every single comment but if anyone didn’t say it….kefir! I give my girls kefir all the time. It boosts their immunity and they love it. I’ve never had a sick chicken in 4 years and I have 30 + chickens at any given time. Maybe you can add it to her gruel. Best of luck to you and Cuddles.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jennifer, yes. There have been a couple of kefir comments. I don’t have time to make my own right now, but if I can find some good stuff at the health food store I’ll grab it. 🙂 ~ karen!

  75. SuzyMcQ says:

    Didn’t want to bother you yesterday with a pep talk and promises of good thoughts and prayers for you and Cuddles. Pondered your struggle and big heart many times, however. We love our pets, no matter whether they are covered with hair or fur, scales or feathers…..

  76. Leslie says:

    I’m glad you’ve gotten some backup. That must be a huge relief. I’m also very happy to read she doesn’t have parasites, too.

  77. Sally says:

    I thought you looked remarkably good when you answered the door. I was expecting much worse. Red eyes, snot…that sort of thing. There was a little of that ‘dear in the headlights” look, but then again you probably weren’t expecting a neighbour on your doorstep at a time of crisis.

    I am so glad you liked the lovely Dr. Robinson. He and Dr. Hall have been my vets for over 30 years.
    Eat up Cuddles!!

  78. West Coast Nan says:

    I admire how you put Cuddles’ well being before yourself and your own grooming needs “I opened the door, unwashed, covered in fecal matter I’m sure, with hair that hadn’t been brushed in about 6 days.” That, my friend, is love. With you as her caregiver Cuddles is in good hands and we, your devoted readers, are pulling for you both. Go Cuddles!

  79. Marion says:

    So glad to hear she’s not got any parasites or whatnot, and that you’re able to get some food in her! I thought about you and Cuddles the whole way to work this morning. Best of luck to both of you, you seem to be a pair of strong, determined ladies.

  80. Linda B says:

    Hugs from TN. Hope today is less poopy.

  81. Karol says:

    So glad to hear you are on a better road. Cuddles is one lucky chicken, that’s for sure.

  82. Jebber jay says:

    I’m sending cuddles to cuddles. Good work mama Karen. Keep on doing what you’re doing!

  83. JeannieB says:

    I’m glad to see that Cuddles is improving. Her eyes look bright in the picture, albeit, she does look a little bit annoyed. Could it be that maybe she just ate a ” bad bug”? I wish you both, well. That Dr. Robinson does sound like a very nice veterinarian

  84. JMY says:

    From a animal lover, ani-mom and a kind, gentle soul to another, I wish you and Cuddles the best.
    Cuddles will get well because she feels your love and your care for her.
    Freeway was one of my babies whom miraculous started eating by herself and recovered from serious sickness when she knew that she was loved.

  85. Alicia says:

    I read your post yesterday and all the comments but because I know nothing about chickens I decided not to waste space. I was thinking about you yesterday and today and am glad that Cuddles is making strides. Your neighbor showing up on your porch was divine intervention you realize that don’t you? Take care of yourself and keep us updated. Good thoughts & prayers coming from Pennsylvania

  86. janpartist says:

    Cant help wondering about how all the other chickens are doing with all of this flurry of activity in the chicken coop…will send a round of healing positive energy your way!

  87. ally says:

    I’m hurrying to email you before I read the details. Dr. Mike Petrik. He has a blog here: You can google his name and hopefully track down a way to contact him. If you have no luck, let me know and I’ll find a contact # or email address another way.

  88. Robin says:

    Yes, I too, will now be thinking of Cuddles each day and hoping for a good outcome. I so hope she returns to her old self soon, although she may just like all the attention of being fed like that, so better get lots of naps in so you can keep caring for her in this manner! Go Cuddles! Go Karen!

  89. Cred says:

    Glad to hear that you got to see a vet who had helpful advice and a test to rule out many things. Not knowing what you’re dealing with is hard enough- it helps to know what you’re not. And good to know she’s eating, always a good sign.
    I didn’t post a comment yesterday since I had no advice to offer and didn’t want to add to the many comments that you had to wade through. But I was thinking of cuddles yesterday and hoping for the best. But I was moved by the outpouring of help and well wishes from your readers. You’re bang on about the internet- the good and the bad, but the good, the support, that it can offer almost outweighs all the body image insecurity created by those countless images of thigh gap (almost).
    Hoping that cuddles is doing well enough that you can get some rest. All the best

  90. Suanne says:

    Sending healing thoughts and sincere concern. Keep us posted….please!

  91. Shauna says:

    We’re all rooting for Cuddles!!! I wish I had a chicken that would sit in my lap like that, she is very special. I ran to my email this morning hoping to find a positive update. Keep it up.

  92. Kari says:

    I just read the post about Cuddles and I’m so sorry to hear she’s sick. Prayers for you and Cuddles. <3

  93. Auntiepatch says:

    Blessings on both of you!

  94. Raquel says:

    Texas is thinking of you! Sending you lots of positive energy for you and Cuddles!

  95. Natalie says:

    You are a great mom! Good luck to you and Cuddles. 🙂

  96. Laura Bee says:

    Yay! So happy – and I need happy right now. I have total faith in you & Cuddles. Love the picture of the feeding – she looks like she’s thankful yet still pissed off. + + + + More positive thoughts for her + + + +

  97. wisconsingal says:

    Wishing you and Cuddles all the best. xxxoxoxoxoxoo

  98. Ellen & Ron says:

    Isn’t it wonderful that you have friends all over the world who care about Cuddles? We are so pleased that she seems to be a bit better. We send both of you many virtual hugs.

  99. Lauren from Winnipeg says:

    Thata girl, Cuddles! You hang in there! So happy to hear you found a great vet. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for her. You have established enough good karma that should carry her through this. Hang in there, Cuddles (you too)!

  100. meg says:

    Go Cuddles go!!

    I had no constructive comments yesterday, but I’ve been thinking about you and Cuddles, I was so glad to read the post she’s alive! Hooray for the Nicest Vet In The World! Hooray for Cuddles having you to care for her. (I guess this isn’t really constructive either…) But regardless, we’re pulling for you, Cuddles!!

  101. Bruce Robinson is a fine human being. I think you got the right vet.

  102. Vanessa says:

    I have been having a horrible week, and when I read about cuddles yesterday I thought “Great what more could happen?” (I’ve been channeling Eeyore ever since I heard about Robin Williams.) It’s surprising to me that even with the kids going back to school this week and all the chaos that that implies, I have been thinking about Cuddles. We even had a sales rep that came in and I spent 45 mins talking to her not about what her company could do for ours, but about CHICKENS, and poor Cuddles. I am truly invested in the outcome and hope you will continue to keep us all in the loop. Maybe your neighbor would be willing to “chicken sit” so you might take a nap? Hang in there Karen!!!

  103. Rondina says:

    I’m very glad that Sally came to see you and you met the nicest vet in the world. Keep your hope up. It’s hard to go through this. I had to tube feed my kitty a few years back for three weeks to try to save her. Between the stress of worrying about losing your beloved pet (which is what Cuddles is) and the prep, feeding, and clean-up of the syringes–it is very tiring. It worked though.

    We are all rooting for Cuddles.

  104. jaine gayer says:

    Keeping my fingers crossed for Cuddles’ speedy recovery. She has such a sweet face.

  105. Hi Karen! I´m so glad you could find a vet. I´m a regular reader to your blog (thought I don´t usually make comments). Actually my coop design is inspired in yours.

    When I read your story yesterday it really got me. I have a hen that´s been limping for over 2 weeks now, and I´ve read so much about chicken illness that my first thought was “bumblefoot”. I´ve checked it several times but I haven´t seen any sign of infection or injury on her paw. I didn´t think of “death” until I read your last post, which made me realize how fragile our pets can be.

    I hope Cuddles gets better, I can imagine how hard it must be to see her past away.

  106. Joanna says:

    Get well girl!

  107. Caroline says:

    Karen, would you like some help? I live near you and woul gladly come and feed Cuddles and gove you a break if you think she would let someone new feed her 🙂

  108. Caroline says:

    I could be at your door in my grotty old jeans in 20 mins…

    • Karen says:

      !!! That’s incredibly nice of you Caroline! I can’t get over people sometimes. Feeding Cuddles isn’t too bad. I do it 5 or 6 times a day. It’s the fact that I can’t concentrate and can’t get any work done because I’m constantly down in the run checking on her. Plus I know she genuinely likes to be held, so I sat with her in the sun today for a couple of hours total. I hope no one is expecting a particularly spectacular post tomorrow, lol. ~ karen!

  109. kate-v says:

    I’m glad you were able to get to the vet and that Cuddles is eating.

  110. Erin Nathe says:

    I know what it’s like to have your heart broken when one of your hens is hurting. It’s true that once you name something you become attached…

    Anyway, I was thinking that where you live there have to be 4H clubs. They raise all kinds of exotic birds for show, so the members of those clubs must know poultry specialists since their hens (and roosters, for that matter) are worth a lot of money.

    If you haven’t already thought of that, you might want to contact a local 4H club (or heck, maybe even a non-local one because you might be able to get some advice via email or phone) and see if someone can suggest a specialist in chickens.

    (Btw, my girls have a special cemetery in our backyard where my kindhearted husband also erected little headstones.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Erin. Today I got in touch with not one but TWO poultry vets, plus a farm animal vet. Basically they say I’m doing exactly the right thing and now I just have to wait and see. 🙂 ~ karen

  111. Stefani says:

    I’m so sad about Cuddles. I hope she pulls through.

  112. Cynthia says:

    I found this TONIC for giving silky chicks. Maybe Cuddles would like to try it. My local farm store sells molasses and apples cider vinegar but you can buy both at supermarkets. I just thought it might give her an energy boost.

    Apple Cider Vinegar (Braggs, or Heinz Organic)
    *Molasses (also organic)
    *Electrolytes (either gatorade, H20, or my favorite “Sav-A-Chick”)

    How to make “CHICK MASH”
    -1tsp molasses for each liter of H20 (I don’t really measure, just mix it up so the water is light brown, like sweet iced tea)
    -1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
    -chick pellets ( I guess her usual mash is fine)

    The molasses & apple cider vinegar water can be made in huge gallon batches if necessary & stay in the fridge for a couple days. Super easy. Pour the “tonic” in with the dry pellets and mix it up until it looks like disgusting dog food. Yum! I like to cut up cardboard egg cups to serve my mash to the chicks. Fill up the cups, put it in their brooder– watch the frenzy. Easy to throw away.

    If you ever want to make your chookies feel like they have been visited by Master Chef Australia, this chook owner sure goes the extra mile with entrees, mains and salads. Yikes! Here I was thinking buying the bag made of hessian with a nice stamp on it would do the job.

  113. CaymanAli says:

    Sending get well vibes to Cuddles. And do be weary of people’s advice out there Karen, I used to do wildlife rescue and dealt primarily with birds and they are completely different from mammals in a lot of ways – especially emergency diets (DAIRY BAD). Ideally you need to find a vet with avian experience if you can and it’s tricky to find them. The fact that she is starting to self-feed again is promising so keep up the hard work.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ali! Yes. I understand. 🙂 I’ve actually been in touch with two poultry vets today. Not avian vets … chicken vets! They both basically told me the same thing which is that I’m doing exactly what I should be doing and it’s up to Cuddles now. She has a fever so it’s some sort of infection it seems. Depending on what has caused it will determine whether she can rebound from it. ~ karen!

  114. Heather (mtl) says:

    I, too, am greatly relieved to see that not only did Cuddles survive a tough night, but so did you! With this much good energy shining on her, she ought to be pecking in no time.
    Thank goodness you found Dr Robinson!
    Hugs to you both

  115. Joslynne says:

    Just to let you know that we are thinking about you and Cuddles way over here in Japan, too!

    Keep getting stronger! Hope more good news to come!

  116. Janet says:

    I, too, hope Cuddles pulls through and is back to normal in no time. I’m glad you found a nice vet to check for parasites, etc. I’m also glad you have a lot of support.

    Rooting for Cuddles,

  117. Robbin says:

    Good to see you haven’t lost your sense of humour through all of this!!! Glad to hear Cuddles is responding to her treatment.

  118. You and Cuddles are so lucky to have one another…I am sending all the positive energy I can to you both. If Cuddles just worries about her thigh gap she will be on the mend soon. Nothing like a bit of a hospital stay and their food to make all the gaps show again. I was in the hospital for three days last week and now on the mend too, sounds like you and she are hopefully through the tough part and now into the healing part. Crickets for everyone!

  119. I love your blog, Karen. You have made me want to have chickens and my hubby wants them, too. When I read blog posts like this, though, it scares me. We lost our kitty lover, Texas, last September. As a result, I can’t imagine ever loving a pet again. It hurts too much. You love your chickens like we loved Tex. I don’t know if I can go through it again. I wish you and Cuddles all the best and will be praying for you both. You are a wonderful caregiver. Xxoo.

  120. Fred Barrett says:

    All creatures great and small have their own endearing personalities. It is always a loss when they leave us and their spirit moves on. May Cuddles have many more cuddles left in her for you for a long time yet.

  121. Nancy says:

    Cuddles sounds like an animal fighting for. We’re all rooting for her. Best of luck 🙂

  122. Bobbi says:

    Just blog about Cuddles and sitting in the sun with her…we are very low maintenance followers. Or do a repeat blog and say the hell with it until things are more stable.

  123. Sharman says:

    I’m thinking about sweet cuddles and praying she gets better soon. What a wonderful feathery companion!

  124. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I don’t know how I missed this post but you know my heart is always with you through rough times girl..Hugs

  125. Greta says:

    Here is a place full of friends that are chicken experts. Do a search and see what you can find. This may not be the exact link but you know all the symptoms. Bless you both.

  126. Deb says:

    Hope she’s better today.

  127. #prayforcuddles! … And thigh gap

    Me and ZJ

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