Cuddles is still cuddling. The last update until something significant happens.

O.K.  I had a different post planned for today.  A good one by the way.   Much better than this stupid movie Neighbors I’m trying to watch for some reason.   I was watching something a little more high brow but it was incredibly boring.  So I put this movie on.  Which is incredibly boring with the added bonus of making me feel bad about myself because unlike the intelligent, thoughtful movie, I’m actually still watching this one.

God I miss you John Hughes.

Up until half an hour before posting I was running that post I had originally planned for today damn it.  I was not going to go on about Cuddles again.

Then I took a look at her sleeping in the coop and caved.

photo copy 3



I also figured I couldn’t just stop posting about Cuddles because all of the comments on today’s post would be asking about Cuddles regardless of what I was talking about in the actual post.  When you people grab onto something there’s very little to stop you.  See the comments regarding the Silver Fox in this post for example.

This will be the last Cuddles watch until something significant happens.  Either good or bad.  I’ll post the odd update on Facebook so you can check in there if you need to know what’s going on.

Today I spoke with several vets and one nice lady from the Internet.

Terry Golson runs the website HenCam.  She’s the original coop cammer.  She answered my questions and supplied me with follow up emails all day long.  She’s been keeping chickens for years, gives workshops on keeping chickens and does her own chicken necropsies (chicken autopsy).  She is full of information and willing to share.  What I liked best about her was she didn’t sugarcoat anything.  Cuddles could die.  In fact she probably would. In her opinion Cuddle’s symptoms were what you would expect from a hen with cancer or a very, very bad infection.   She outlined her reasons for thinking this including the fact that Cuddle’s poop is still green even though she’s eating.  Later in the evening I sent her some new information including the fact that Cuddles had a dust bath today and she was quick to reply that that was very, very encouraging.  Chickens who are getting ready to die, don’t bathe.  But they don’t have green poop either.  Reason for optimism and reason for pessimism according to Terry.  I agree.

Mike Petrik runs the website Mike the Chicken Vet.   He is a poultry vet exclusively and as it turns out is just a few towns over from me.  Just hearing Cuddle’s symptoms he had a few ideas in terms of what may be wrong with her and he gave me some good, solid information.  But most impressively after I emailed him originally a couple of days ago, he took it upon himself to go to my blog post and ask how Cuddles was doing.  Mike the chicken vet was a great help.

Mark Camilleri is a cat vet at a cat clinic I used to take one of my cats to.  :)  But he also happens to own rare chickens and is a registered poultry judge.  He was also incredibly generous with his time and called me on the phone to see how Cuddles was doing and what her symptoms were like today.

With all this new information I sort of extrapolated from everyone I decided I should do a couple of things, one of which was take Cuddle’s temperature.  A chicken’s temperature should be around 104 or 105.  Cuddle’s temperature was 107.5 yesterday afternoon.  Walnut’s by comparison was 105.  So that meant she has some sort of infection.

She was in much better shape yesterday, moving around and eating the Michelin star food I was syringing her.  On the menu today was a chicken crumble, mineral oil, pumpkin, oregano, yogourt and honey smoothie.




She ate the smoothie I dropped onto her beak, the smoothie I dropped onto her feathers and the majority of the smoothie I dropped onto my (totally washable, incredibly durable Rough Linen pinafore).

By the afternoon she was still pooping green but it looked slightly more like regular poop.  By late afternoon she was sun bathing.  And by sunset she was eating a whole leaf of romaine lettuce by herself.  All good signs.  Except for the poop.  It’s the damn poop.

So I called Dr. Robinson, who did Cuddle’s fecal smear the other day, and told him she had a fever and did he think she should be on antibiotics again?  Dr. Robinson explained because it seemed like her body was trying very hard to get better in terms of her behavior, he’d like to leave her for another day to see if her temperature would come down on its own.  He would prefer to see an animal get better on their own without the interference of antibiotics if possible.  This way there isn’t any disturbance in her gut flora which could create more problems down the road.  He wouldn’t have recommended this if she was still lethargic and uninterested in grooming or food.

So some time this afternoon I’ll take Cuddle’s temperature again. If it’s low, we’ll continue on as we are now.  Feeding her stuff she’s happy to eat with the hope that she’ll get her appetite back enough to go back on her regular feed.  If her temperature is still high she’ll get the same treatment but also go on antibiotics for I’m guessing 5 days.  Then we’ll just have to wait and see if she pulls through and her poop clears up.

The general consensus from all vets and experienced advisors was if Cuddles doesn’t eat on her own or gain weight  in the next 5 days or so, it’s a sign that she’s very sick and I can have her euthanized in good conscience.

But that’s a ways off yet, so I will continue on with with holding Cuddles, syringe feeding Cuddles and doing laundry.  Enormous amounts of laundry.


  1. Wisconsingal says:

    I agree with others who say to keep the Cuddles updates coming. Lasagna? Bah! I think many of us feel like you’re family, and so is Cuddles. We’re all in this together. Last night as I was falling asleep I thought with great sadness about you, Cuddles on your lap, weeping over your lost love. You’ve wound your way into our hearts. We’re all pulling for you and Cuddles!

  2. Andree Masters says:

    Sending healing vibes from rural Cordoba in sunny Spain …I have chickens the same as cuddles …the 4 Henryettas plus 2 bantams and big Micky the cockerel ….I too would sit up all night just to ensure they were cared for when Poorly…but with 11 rescue dogs 30 cats …parrots and an avery full of birds plus the chicks frogs and koi carp …..oh and Merlin my orphaned hedgehog ….I’m up most nights caring for one or other they are all my babies as Cuddles is yours I am thinking of you and wishing Cuddles well again ….she knows you care .xxx

  3. Trish R says:

    Best of luck and keep fighting, Cuddles!!

  4. Rondina says:

    “I also figured I couldn’t just stop posting about Cuddles because all of the comments on today’s post would be asking about Cuddles regardless of what I was talking about in the actual post.”

    Actually that is going to be true until she either gets well or passes away. So how about sending normal posts with a “Cuddle’s Update” at the end.

  5. toekneetoni says:

    So glad you posted about Cuddles. And i’m glad there has been some improvement with her. And I have to say for a non-chicken keeping person, all the info was pretty interesting. And now I am most impressed with your Rough Linen pinafore! And p.s. I miss John Hughes too!

  6. Tigersmom says:

    Thank you for the update and please do continue to give us one line updates on Cuddles. I’m glad that even though she is not out of the woods yet, there is some promising news.

    And thank you to the rest of this commenting community for not making me feel weird for caring (and even tearing up) over a chicken and a friend-I’ve-never-met’s heartache.

    We may not know a lot of things about you, things that you choose to keep private and I totally respect that, but your behavior in situations such as this reveal your character and integrity. And through that, in some ways, we know you better than people we have met (and care for you more, too.)

  7. Marion says:

    Thanks for the update. I’m sending all my positive thoughts and vibes to you and Cuddles. Glad to know that there is a whole team of experts looking into her case! That is definitely one loved chicken (and one loved chicken momma).

  8. Linda says:

    Dear Karen–I have never posted to a post before, but I was moved beyond my tears. I am about as far from you as can get, southern New Mexico about 50 miles north of the border of Mexico. But I feel like a sister from afar and am so glad you can share your heart with so many people–the good and the bad. Just like God giving us beautiful animals in our life, he gives us other women who remind us of what love is. Not complicated, pure joy in life and love for living creatures that are put in our lives. Thank you for sharing. My prayers are with you and Cuddles.

  9. JF says:

    oh my word, Karen! thanks for the update. . .you and Cuddles have been in my thoughts constantly

    well, you’re doing everything you can do — Cuddles is doing everything SHE can do

    we’re sending you all the community’s love and good vibes, so. . .wait, let me throw in a Big Hug. . . one can never have enough hugs

  10. Elen Grey says:

    Sending good thoughts and a sprinkle of fairy dust (can’t hurt…might work on the green poop) to Cuddles. Hang in there!

  11. Caroline says:

    *with not which! Doh!

  12. Mary Werner says:

    I’m reminded of a story about a little girl at the beach. She came when the the tide was lowering and leaving behind small fish to die. She began frantically grabbing them one at a time and taking them back to the receding edge of the water. An older man saw her and said “There are so many little fish already in the water, what you’re doing won’t make any difference at all.” The wise little girl replied, “But to this one it will.” So glad to hear what is going on – remember, Karen, to us you are a valuable friend and we care!

  13. Caroline says:

    Thanks for the update! Glad Cuddles seems to be feeling a bit better! I have been worried and nervous to check for an update in case it’s bad news…do you think if we all do the chicken dance which her in our minds it will help? This could go viral like the ALS ice bucket challenge!

  14. Lynn (really spelled w/ an "e", but somebody else already has that spelling on here) says:

    What Christy said about even a short or a one line update.
    Continuing to send positive thoughts and prayers to you and Cuddles

  15. Melanie says:

    Cuddles is very lucky to have such a wonderful and caring friend. My thoughts and well wishes are with you both.

  16. Ruth says:

    I am one of those who would have asked about Cuddles today, irrespective of your post content, so I am very grateful for the update.

    Go Cuddles! :-)

  17. MARILYN says:

    I cannot believe I am crying over a chicken, but after all it IS Cuddles. Prayers coming your way!

  18. Debbie Neal says:

    So many prayers and good thoughts coming to you and Cuddles!

  19. Ev Wilcox says:

    We are all keeping a good thought for you and yours. Thanks for telling us that you are getting good advice from people in the know. So important. Good luck Karen.

  20. Joanne says:

    Karen, sending healing thoughts to Cuddles and you.
    Never apologize for what you choose to post. I come here expecting the unexpected, and you ALWAYS come thru. You care so much, and so we care for you and with you. It doesn’t matter if your updates are about fairy twinkle lights, cleaning the basement, tending the garden or the care of sick animals — youare a great read and always entertaining… and WE CARE.

  21. Jean says:

    Two phrases stand out to me. “It’s the damn poop” and “gut flora.” Health and happiness usually do come down to those two things, don’t they? She is showing some good signs. Great news!

  22. Maureen says:

    Karen, here in the US, the country is consumed with the town of Ferguson, Missouri which looks like a war zone. A journalist who’s been captive for several years was killed yesterday in a horrific way. In my hometown, a man was just convicted of hiring people to kill his wife. The governor of my state has been indicted for being an asshole. Bad stuff is happening everywhere. Yet, a number of us, who have never met you, are concerned about you and your dear Cuddles. I shared your post on Facebook, and asked for help from chicken-keeping friends. Several asked their friends, and I know some posted replies on your site. One of my friends said, “tell your friend to look at the such and such site” and I thanked her, but said, “well, actually this is a blogger and I don’t know her.” But I guess we are just friends who haven’t met yet. So my point is that the human spirit has let us all know once again, that we do matter to each other. Since I’m over 50, I have the right to quote from “Desiderata” at will: With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

  23. Nicole2 says:

    Go Cuddles, go you!!

  24. Judy D. says:

    I’ve been reading about Cuddles being under the weather these past few days. It’s heartbreaking. The only pets I’ve ever had were cats. One had kidney failure and at the suggestion of the vet, I had her put down. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. I pray that Cuddles pulls through and is once again a healthy, ‘cuddly’ gal. Should things turn for the worse, just know in your heart that you did all you can for her. You and Cuddles are in my thoughts and prayers. ♥

  25. Jacquie says:

    Hugs & love to you and Cuddles from Malta. I just know she’ll recover.

    And am I going mad? Did I see a post about lasagna yesterday only for it to disappear like it never existed? I’ve not only searched your site but google searched too and nothing. Oh crap, not those damned hallucinations again :-)

    • Karen P says:

      If it was a hallucination, it was a group one cause I had it too. I’m guessing it was a scheduled post that Karen cancelled in order to post about Cuddles instead. There is a time and place for lasanga discussions but yesterday just wasn’t it. Karen, please keep the Cuddles updates coming (for those of us who don’t Facebook). You’re right about the group of folks who hang out here… awesome, caring group… but when we latch onto something… geesh! We’d be all lasanga-schmanga… What about Cuddles????? Sorry to say you are stuck with us ;-) Good thoughts being channeled your way from North Georgia!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Jacquie! And hah! No. You aren’t hallucinating. There was supposed to be a post on lasagna yesterday but Cuddles took over so I didn’t post the lasagna recipe, but forgot to cancel it in my newsfeed. You’ll be learning about lasagna next week. :) ~ karen

      • Jacquie says:

        I can’t cook but the one thing I make really well is lasagna so I’d much rather hear about Cuddles, along with everyone else. Just nice to know the madness isn’t showing publicly yet :-)

  26. Myrna says:

    My family loves Cuddles! And you. I love the updates and my kids are praying for you both! We are the family that took a 27g hamster to the vet and spent $400. We get loving furry/feathery people.

  27. Ritz says:

    Rooting for you and Cuddles.
    Hope Cuddles will be rooting for herself soon!

  28. Erika Collins says:

    I really hope Cuddles makes it!

  29. Liesl Joubert says:

    I hope that one day when I have kids, that I take care of them as well as you do your pets.

  30. Vanessa says:

    I’m so glad she’s doing better, poor thing.

    But also, holy shit, that man! He really is goddamn gorgeous.

  31. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Please try to get some sleep..and something good to can’t do Cuddles any good if you get yourself sick..Hugs for both of you..

  32. Christy says:

    I had a long stressful day today at work but every moment I had free to think to myself I immediately wondered about Cuddles. I even said to myself when I checked my personal email (knowing full well it was much too early for your post to arrive), oh I hope there is news on Cuddles and she is ok. Please Don’t apologize for writing about her. I understand if you want to not do all Cuddles, all the time on the posts but maybe consider just quick even one line updates on her. She has a lot of fans and people pulling for her (me included)! With all the bad news swirling around in the world, it’s nice to have a sweet chicken in Canada to root for throughout the day.

    • Tracey says:

      I agree with Christy!
      And…I kept checking my email to see if you might have posted about Cuddles too.
      We care about you and being animal lovers we care about Cuddles.
      And Cuddles is one of your kids.
      You could send posts about Cuddles 12 times a day and that would be A-OK with me.
      Sending you both warm hugs

  33. Auntiepatch says:

    Blessings to you and Cuddles. We are all praying for you both. Know that she loves you and will come out the other side if she can.

  34. Grammy says:

    Post what you want to when you want to. We all understand and are quite happy to allow you to take care of your family and yourself. Cuddles has the best care, just remember you need to take care of yourself, too. Not your hair, or your nails, or anything like that. You get it. Good wishes directed to both of you.

  35. Mia says:

    If her poop has gone from the watery yellow to green with small pieces of fecal matter, then it very well could be from a liquid type diet(soft food,syringe feeding)or she is still not quite getting enough food into her system,this type of poop i have seen with tube feeding or in ill birds not eating enough food.
    Do not give up,she just might be slowly starting to recover.

  36. Pat says:

    I’m glad you gave us a progress report on Cuddles because I was thinking about her today and wondering if you were going to give us an update. Do not apologize. We readers know you well enough to totally understand. And by the way….that movie….I tried to watch it and agree…totally boring and stupid.

  37. Mia says:

    Glad to hear she is still improving. Normal temp for poultry is anywhere from 103(young birds)105-107(normal temp range for adult birds)so her temp of 107.5 although a bit high,is still within the range of normal,which is good.

  38. judy says:

    I hope she recuperates because I know it has been hard on you both physically and emotionally. Just as an aside we had a much loved 13 year old dog who had been poorly for months-the Vet said he wouldn’t treat him for anything since if he wasn’t felled by one thing there was definitely going to be something else. So the sad part is when he stopped eating I thought” he is so old I’m not going through the awful experience of having him euthanized.” I’ll just let nature take its course and he will die a peaceful and natural death. Dumbest idea I ever had. Through a very tough weekend of getting a 135 lb. dog in and out to the bathroom(78 yr. old husband and me 74. And his obvious discomfort . I stayed up with him till 3:30 a.m petting him and talking to him. He finally went to sleep and in the morning he was gone. We have a large ten year old dog and when his time is near I will definitely opt for the Vets help. I wish someone had posted this heads up where I could have read it and saved my dog and our family a harsh experience. If we could have gotten him into the car at that point I would have tried to find someone to put him down, but we just couldn’t pick him up and he whimpered so when we tried to move him that we just gave up trying.

    • Auntiepatch says:

      I’m sorry for your loss. Just remember that he crossed the Rainbow Bridge and is running and playing with the other animals and that he loves you.

    • Jacquie says:

      Don’t beat yourself up Judy. Your actions were done with the best intentions and even though it didn’t go the way you wanted, you’ve learned from it. And you know dogs, they forgive you anything and he’d have only felt your love through the experience, nothing negative, just cus that’s how dogs are! Enjoy your other dog and make many more years of memories together.

    • Adrienne in Atlanta says:

      Judy, my heart goes out to you. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  39. Kimm says:

    Karen, you are so wonderful and compassionate. My heart goes out to you and Cuddles :)

  40. victoria says:

    Well wishes Cuddles and you have the mamá who takes care of you!

  41. Laura says:

    So glad the news is still good! You’re an awesome mom.

  42. Devon says:

    There is so much love here that whatever happens next will be the next right thing, without a doubt. XOXO to Karen and Cuddles. I adore you both.

  43. Suel Anglin says:

    Dear Karen,

    Please don’t worry about sharing news about Cuddles. I’m sure there are several of us that are following her progress and your extraordinary efforts to save a special friend. I’d much rather read about her recovery than a lot of what is posted on the major news sites.

    Best wishes to you and Cuddles!

    PS: Whatever you do to keep your laundry fresh and clean after feeding time would probably be helpful for anyone caring for a sick child, elderly parent, dog, cat, you name it. ;)

    • Mary Werner says:

      Totally agree with everything you said especially the first paragraph. Life is precious and Cuddles is loved and seems to be improving. Good news worth sharing.

  44. Debbie says:

    Your one of the best pet parents I know. Either way you have done your best for you feathered friend. I will be rooting for you guys for the healing of Cuddles, the sweetie who helped you the best she could too.

  45. Alice says:

    I am sure that Cuddles will get well, if she can. With all of your care, the advice from vets and super chicken keepers, and support of the internet community, she has every possible manner of support. Here’s hoping for a lower temperature and normal poop.

  46. Melanie says:

    It’s only the thought of the green poop on your Rough Linen sheets that’s keeping you from bringing her in with you tonight, right?

    • Karen says:

      LOL! Oh that wouldn’t stop me, if I could get the fella’s head sweat off the pillows with Oxyclean bile filled chicken poop should be a breeze. ;) ~ karen

  47. Therese says:

    Hang in there both of you.

  48. Melissa says:

    I am so glad you got ahold of Terry! Her blog is full of good sage advice and she is so giving of her time to chicken keepers around the globe. I hope Cuddles is on the road to recovery. I will be thinking of you!

  49. Cathy says:

    this is hopeful news, indeed. it’s been a lousy day for patients today; my last one is just holding on as well.
    and never forget that poop does reveal a lot about what is going on in the body; snot does too.
    ok, stay in touch we are rooting for both of you!

  50. Natika says:

    I’m thinking of you and Cuddles and sending positive vibes. Good luck to both of you!

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