Flystrike: a chicken killer.
Cuddles beats the odds again.

 

sick-chicken

 

My heart sank as soon as I opened up the coop doors to let everyone out for the morning.  Every morning the routine is the same and this morning was no different.  Wake up, pad downstairs, throw my particularly ugly Crocs on … and let the chickens out for the day.

The chickens wake up about 2 hours before I do so by the time I get downstairs they’re all waiting by the door anxious to get their jam packed day of scratching, pooping and lounging underway.  Chickens: the men of the animal world.

So when there were only 3 chickens instead of 4 at the door this particular morning I knew something bad was waiting for me.  If it had been Cheez Whiz, Mabel or Josephine that was missing I wouldn’t have thought a thing about it.  I’d know they were just in the nesting box laying an egg. But the missing chicken was Cuddles.  Cuddles doesn’t lay anymore, giving up on that after her near death experience last summer.  She now spends her time like most retirees do.  Snacking and napping. And playing golf.

I let the other chickens outside, then took a peek inside the roost where the chickens sleep.  Cuddles was still up on her roost with her head down looking sad.  But she jumped down when she saw me and slowly made her way outside.

Because it seems like she has issues with laying internally she gets icky feeling the odd time, but once she passes a hunk of solidified egg yolk, she’s back to normal.  It usually takes a half a day to a day and I figured that’s what the problem was.  So I went about my day checking on her the odd time.  She was not active, just sitting all day in one spot looking very lethargic.

You have to keep in mind that chickens can go from sick to dead in 24 hours so if one isn’t feeling well you really have to pay attention.  By 3 in the afternoon or so I noticed she was standing up and picking at her bum.  Which is good, because if a chicken can be bothered to groom themselves then they aren’t in that bad of shape.  A chicken about to die doesn’t dust bathe or groom, they just sit and wait to die.

When I went over to take a closer look at her, happy she was standing, I was in no way prepared for what I was about to see.

As it turns out Cuddles didn’t have what I thought. She wasn’t sick from laying internally.  She had Flystrike. What that means is when I picked Cuddles up to give her the once over I was in for the kind of shock normally reserved for page 284 of any Stephen King novel.

maggot

Coming out of Cuddles’ vent were hundreds of worms. Only they weren’t worms.  They were maggots.  And her entire back end was COVERED in them.   I was holding a chicken that had a mass of pulsating, writhing maggots.

Holy shit.

You know how you feel about maggots?  That’s how I feel about maggots.

Seriously.  Who the F*CK decided keeping chickens was a good idea?  WHOOOOO???  Ack.  Me.  It was me.  (Sorry about the disguised swear word there Betty, but I dare you to say anything different with an ass full of maggots inches from your face)

Luckily it was a really hot day so I could run the hose all over Cuddles at full blast to get rid of the maggots.  I also had to don a pair of surgical gloves to hand pick them out.  Getting rid of the maggots took over half an hour because they’d crawl INTO her to escape the water.

Finally they were all gone and I could get a good look at her.  The maggots had eaten a hole in Cuddles, just below her vent where they were literally eating her from the inside out.  Not dead tissue.  LIVE tissue.  Flystrike normally hits sheep but can also attack chickens.  Obviously.  I dried her off, wrapped her in a towel and applied WonderDust wound powder to keep it dry and unattractive to more flies.

Flystrike is deadly for a few reasons.  The maggots will literally eat the guts out of the chicken AND the maggots  have a toxin on them that poisons the chicken basically.  There’s also the risk of infection etcetera, etcetera.  I kept my eye on Cuddles for the next few days and she was fine.

Until she wasn’t.

You see these maggots have several stages of pupation and before I knew it, she was being eaten by maggots again.  Lesson to you … if you have a chicken that gets Flystrike, check them several times a day for at least a week to make sure they aren’t infested again.

The second time I realized she had Flystrike was around 5 days after the initial attack.  I had to go through everything again, removing the maggots and washing her completely.  This time it wasn’t warm out though so I had to keep her inside the house to make sure she stayed warm.  The maggots gave her a fever probably from infection so she needed to be extra warm.  I don’t know when the last time you blow dried a chicken but I can tell you it takes about the same amount of time it takes to find a bathing suit that looks good on you after the age of 17.  Hours.  HOURS.

cuddles-sick-on-floor

 

The next morning I went to see a local vet that advises me the odd time something goes wrong with my chickens. He told me to keep her inside for a few days so I could keep a close eye on her, so she wouldn’t be picked on by the other chickens and so she’d be away from alllll flies (more on my hatred of them later).

I also decided to give her antibiotics.  I had some left over from her episode last year, plus got a new prescription from my vet.

To get her to take the antibiotics I diluted them in water and then put scraps of spinach and raisins to soak in it.  She would both drink the antibiotic water and eat the antibiotic laced raisins and greens.

By the next morning she was a bit better but still obviously sick.

By that night she was feeling well enough to know that laying on the floor wasn’t fun and hopped up into my pantry when it came time to roost.

 

cuddles-in-cupboard

 

By the third night she was feeling perfect, had a great appetite and the only trace that maggots had been around was the plum sized scab under her vent where the maggots had attacked her.  I knew when she jumped up on my shoe cabinet to roost for the night she would be O.K. to put outside the next night.

 

cuddles-improving

 

This all happened a few weeks ago.  I don’t have any pictures of the maggots because my concern was fixing Cuddles, not taking photos.  Also, I was 90% sure this was going to kill her and didn’t really want to document her death walk if I didn’t have to.

 

flystrike

Which brings us to this question.

HOW DOES A CHICKEN GET FLYSTRIKE?

Flies are attracted to crap.  Chicken coops/runs are filled with crap no matter how often you clean the run.  Certain chickens have a tendency to have poopy bums.  Cheez Whiz and Cuddles are two such chickens.

 

cheez-and-cuddles-bums

 

No matter how hard they try, these two always have poop on their bums. They always have and I imagine they always will.

 

cheeze-bum

 

 

My two copper Marans on the other hand have never once had poop on their bums.

josephine-mabel-bum

 

mabel-bum

You could literally smash your face into their puffy bums with no fear of feces.

josphine-bum

 

Flies are attracted to the poop on chickens bums and if given a chance will lay their eggs right there.  The eggs then hatch into the world’s most hospitable maggot condo:  the chicken anus.

Once they’re there, they aren’t leaving until they’ve eaten a big hole in your chicken, made you a gagging twitching pile of goo and generally turned your life into a horror movie of a maggoty mess.

In fact the only thing more revolting than the maggoty mess is the homemade fly trap that I made to combat the fly problem.  More on that and the other 2 fly traps I tested in the next post.

The moral of this story?  There are very few situations a little cuddle and the word f*ck can’t fix. And of course in certain situations a round of antibiotics can’t hurt either.

Update: Since this post, little Cuddles has died, but it wasn’t from Flystrike.  She had a long term bout with egg yolk peritonitis. The last day of her life had the potential to be one of the worst days of both our lives, but the world’s kindest vet came to the rescue


170 Comments

  1. Rachel San Diego says:

    Poor Cuddles! And poor you! This is all very disgusting.

    Are we sure Cuddles isn’t part cat, with nine lives and all?

    • Judi says:

      Two words….. BAG BALM, or Vaseline chickens and flies do not like it. I have used it in the past when I raised chickens and Turkish. It really keeps chickens from pecking one another, so can be used anywhere on them the bag balm has some medicinal purpose as well.

  2. Janet W says:

    As soon as I started to read this post, I just KNEW there was going to be pictures of maggots. You have NO idea how relieved I was to find this sentence: ” I don’t have any pictures of the maggots because my concern was fixing Cuddles, not taking photos. ”

    And for that, I say Thank You. Sincerely. Thank You.

    I really don’t know how you do it. Truly I don’t. But you do. And once again I say… you are an amazing woman.

    • Sharman says:

      I agree wholeheartedly !!!!!

      • melissa says:

        I agree, such a chicken mama. The world needs more people like you! Thanks for caring and picking as well. RIP Cuddles. Very informative.

        • Lisa says:

          I feel the same way! What a caring chicken momma, I would the same for my girls as well. They are like little ppl with their own little personalities. Each different in their own way..Thank you your article.

          • Karen says:

            Thanks Lisa. 🙂 Funny story; I have another chicken now, an Olive Egger and she is AWFUL. She is the meanest chicken you’ve ever met! I had to have poor Cuddles put down last Christmas because she was so sick and I replaced her with an olive egger I let my Marans hatch. She’s the exact opposite of cute little Cuddles, lol. So yes. They definitely have personalities! ~ karen!

  3. Ardith says:

    You are a wonderful chicken mama. There should be an award for such dedication. Kudos to Cuddles for her strong will.

  4. Laurel says:

    If cuddles were any other animal, I swear she’d be a cat , complete with 9 lives and all. Though i’m pretty sure she’s used up a few of them. She is one resilient lady. Really happy she’s okay and really …well honestly grossed out that you had to deal with that maggoty mess. YOU are one resilient lady.

  5. Kari says:

    Oh my goodness. Poor cuddles, poor YOU. I gagged reading about it. Thank you so much for telling us because I do not want that to happen to my chickies. I cannot wait to see your fly contraptions. I already have the supplies to make some that are not totally atrocious looking, and will only delay long enough to read your results in effectiveness. The only way I can square myself with the existence of flies is that they are a food source for the indicator species. I’ll keep chanting that when I wake up gagging from the Cuddles flystrike nightmares that I am sure to have now. Nite Nite, and thank goodness that sweet girl is okay!

  6. brenda says:

    oh cuddles de waddles dee – poor poopy – those damn flies (I have the little fruit ones now in my house that spontaneously appear from nothing and they are really peeving me off … because I want fruit in my house and they are just nasty and not wanted) …

    Karen – what a great mama chicken you are to Cuddles … only a mother could love that much … awwwee

  7. Katie says:

    OMG. THIS HAPPENED TO ONE OF MY CHICKENS LAST WEEKEND. It was horrifying. Poor Tweets McGee. She was fine one day, the next covered in maggots…she also seemed to have a prolapsed oviduct…it’s been 90 degrees F. I hadn’t heard of flystrike…but now I know. I have two remaining chickens getting a bum exam tomorrow (Red Sonia & Fluffbucket). Which, next question…what can be done about flies and/or poopy chicken bums??

    • Karen says:

      Katie – Is your chicken O.K.? Or did you lose her? I’m so sorry if you did. I’m going to talk about dealing with the flies in Wednesday’s post. As far as poopy bums go, you can wash them. I just washed Cuddles’ bum today as a matter of fact. Soap, warm water, surgical glove and a little rubbing. Don’t rub or pull too aggressively. The last thing you want if the chicken is prone to a poopy bum is an open wound. Good luck! ~ karen

      • Katie says:

        She was in a bad way…so we decided to put her down. NOT how i wanted the chicken with the most character this side of the Mississippi to leave, but given all of poor Tweets’s age and other issues, it seemed the humane thing to do. My parents were coming to visit that day, and my dad dredged up his long-lost putting-chickens-to-sleep skills and the deed was done. It takes a village, my friends, and she’s buried under our apple trees. RIP, Tweets McGee.

        • Jolanda says:

          so sorry to hear Katie. I lost one of my chicks as well. Me too had never heard of Flystrike. But when Brownie had a bum full of maggots it grossed me out and I quickly put 1 and 1 together.
          I tried to wash her and get rid of the maggots unfortunately she didn’t make it.
          After preventing washing would you suggest putting vaseline on the bum or bag balm?

      • Rhonda Webster says:

        Karen, you are a great writer and full of both compassion and humor. Keep up the good work!

    • Gary G from Holland, Michigan says:

      I love the names of your pet chickens. Especially “Tweets McGee” — Very imaginative. 🙂

    • Ellen Daniels says:

      I’ve rescued injured & orphaned wildlife all my life. To get maggots to come up out of their tracts, where you can grab them with tweezers, use a dropper of hydrogen peroxide. Then wait for them to stick their breathing aparatus up out of the hole, and grab them. KEEP DOING THIS until the very LAST one is gone, or they won’t heal. Once you get them all, (with this method at least) they heal beautifully.
      Fly eggs look like small thin bits of rice all stuck together. Look for them anywhere there is moisture: anus, umbilical area, genitals, “armpits,” corners of eyes, behind the ears. Baby mammals who have lost their mothers, who diligently clean them of fly eggs, such as rabbits and kittens are VERY prone to flystrike. Keep your nursing orphans INDOORS!
      Sand as a substrate in the coop drys the poop very quickly, and it can be scooped into something with holes (I use a waterlily container.) to sift out the poop VERY quickly. Sand means no moisture in the henhouse.

  8. gloria says:

    Great bedtime reading. Thanks. Maybe the only worse time would have been dinner time. This is precisely why I do not have chickens.

    • Rhonda Webster says:

      Don’t have chickens? Then why are you reading an article about how to care for them? Reminds me of the time my visiting guests spend 3 solid days talking incessantl about how their children were allergic to yellow dye # 5, red dye, etc. what meds they were on, and how they had to be hauled to soccer and everywhere else. On the 4th day, my guests put chocolate in their suitcases on the floor and my dog ate it and got very ill. Their reply: That’s why WE don’t have pets!!!!!

  9. Isabella Wigrenini says:

    okay, putting an ad on Craigs list tomorrow for free chickens. Could not, would not, will not be able to handle a big case of flystrike with our 16 girls. Kudos to you for doing so well. I would say quite a few euphemisms for the handy dandy F word.

  10. Carol says:

    I’m so glad to hear you were able to bring Cuddles through this. And I very much appreciate your chicken horror stories. They make me less disappointed that our City Council shot down the urban chicken bill.

  11. Becky says:

    One year I had flies soooo bad with my chickens. Someone online recommended this. http://www.arbico-organics.com/category/fly-control-program

    I can honestly say that, even though they say they wont’ survive Wisconsin winters, I have had less flies since applying these…. they even have a sample pack they will send, which is perfect for my small coop

  12. Auntiepatch says:

    OMG! Poor Cuddles! Can you get Chicken Pantaloons? Maybe Chicken Granny Panties? A Chicken G-String wouldn’t work, would it? Do they make Chicken Diapers or Depends? Send me her size….er….diminutions and I will work on the/your/her problem!

  13. Rondina says:

    I’m just very happy that Cuddles has survived another close one. You get best Chicken Mama Blue Ribbon.

  14. dana says:

    Thanks for not including pics of the maggot butt. It sounds awful. When you said you opened the coop & she did not come out I thought that was it. She’s gone. Cuddles the chicken who seems to be part cat & has 9 lives is gone. But alas she lives on! Karen, you could turn this into a great children’s story. Really you could.

  15. Mindy says:

    Holy crap. How disgustingly awful. I had to clean up hundreds of maggots in the seam of our concrete driveway last summer and was convinced it was the grossest thing ever in the land. I was wrong. I’m so glad she’s okay. Love the photo of her in the pantry.

  16. Grammy says:

    I have always thought it would be so lovely to have a couple of backyard chickens, and we are allowed to do so where I live. But one thing and another always precluded my actually going through with it. Now, thanks to you, I’ve completely rid myself of that fantasy. But I still love that you raise them and tell us about them and show us fabulous things like a chicken sitting in the pantry while she’s indoors being treated.

    I don’t even mind when you show us pictures of the disgusting things, but I am relieved that your time being devoted to making Cuddles better instead of documenting the problem means we didn’t get a picture of the maggots at work. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t take that. Cuddles is a lucky girl to have you for a mom.

  17. Jenn says:

    We had to put down a hen because of this a few years ago. It comes up on them so quickly.

    • Karen says:

      SO fast! And SO deadly! I think the only thing that saved her was I happened to have antibiotics for her in the house and gave them to her right away. I was really, really surprised when she wasn’t gone in the morning. I was shocked when she was still alive in fact. ~ karen!

  18. Cynthia Jones says:

    I have some ideas to throw into the mix.

    A swipe of Vaseline (petroleum jelly) on the bum area every couple of days would stop the poop from sticking?

    A Reverse Brazilian with a Rocket battery operated set of clippers ( I use these on my Pomeranian)

    Garden Lime thrown around the area to neutralize odours.

    If you ever have an injured chicken, you can put a red light bulb in their house and that will stop the others from being able to see that they have an injury and they won’t peck them to death.

    I don’t have chickens any more. I love them. But a fight with mites and then my first Thunder Egg and 40,000 poops on my back patio and that was that. One poop attracted at least 40 flies. I have limits.

    Good work on saving her ass. Sorry.

  19. Teri says:

    We lost our favorite hen (Barry, one of our original batch of chicks) to flystrike last spring. I came home from work and found her too far ravaged to subject her to treatment and we opted to cull her. It was horrid. I’ve never cried so hard over a chicken and she was not the first we’d lost either. It taught us to be ever vigilant about cleaning our chicken’s bottoms so this doesn’t happen again. It was a hard way to learn one of the downsides about chicken ownership. I wish books and resources would go into more details as it can be challenging to find a vet who will see a chicken when needed. I’m so glad you were able to catch Cuddles in time and heal her. I wish we could have done the same for Barry.

    • Karen says:

      Like I mentioned to Jenn, I was just lucky Teri. I’m home all day so I can keep a closer eye on them than most people, plus I had chicken antibiotics in the house which she remarkably agreed to take. Sorry about what you had to go through with Barry. It’s awful. ~ karen

  20. Luanne says:

    I was a deer in the headlights.

    And I am certain I will have nightmares about maggots and chicken butts.

    Yet somewhat fascinated. :-/

  21. Yvonne, the other one. says:

    Cuddles is such a survivor. She’s lucky to have you as her mama. Count me as another one who would have liked to have backyard chickens, but after reading about Cuddles’ trials and tribulations, I can say. – Not Now, Not Ever, Never, No Way!!!!

  22. MissChris says:

    I was thinking about getting some chickens for our very large back yard.
    My concern was our cats – they are avid birders!! But there are ways round that.

    Then I read this – and where we live, flies are an evil problem and South African summers get very hot.

    I have changed my mind about them chickens as I am not scratching around anyones butt to remove maggots or anything odd for that matter. I did my duty in the cleaning butt department with my children!

    As for you, I think you must have a stomach of steel!! Wonderwoman comes to mind!!

  23. Denise Leavens says:

    Yay, Cuddles! For pulling through another near death experience! And you, Karen! For your diligent care of her. And I do believe that rather than a cat and the 9 lives theory, it is Cuddles’ golf and snack eating that now gives her the desire to keep on keeping on. Especially now that she can lord it over the other girls that she is retired and can nap any ol’ time she wants to.

  24. I’m a big fan of Stephen King, but maggots in Cuddles’ anus? too much! she’s lucky to have you and vice versa.

  25. Gwen H. says:

    Glad to hear that Cuddles is doing fine.

  26. Alexandra says:

    Has anyone made a “badass” joke yet? If not, can I say that Cuddles is a badass? Because she is.

    Karen, I’m so glad you could help her, and I think if she ever does succumb to one of those manifold and mysterious chicken afflictions, people around the world will shed a few tears. How many chickens can say that about themselves?

  27. StefT says:

    Not just a problem for chickens, bunnies suffer with the terrible flystrike too (my wife’s a vet, so gets to deal with the nasty out come more than she’d like to!). Anyone with a rabbit should really check their back end (the rabbit’s, not there own) every day during summer to make sure it’s clean and not so tempting for a fly.

  28. Lucie P says:

    Blech! AND happy to know Cuddles will see another sunrise.

  29. Merrilee says:

    Impressive that you were able to save her- that picture where she’s laying with the white blanket is so sad. Maybe the gift back from Cuddles is your ability to write a chicken book? A nice balance of fluffy chicken butt pictures and then the reality of challenges? I mean in your spare time you could totally write that! Give Cuddles a hug for me!

  30. Toekneetoni says:

    Soooo glad Cuddles is okay. Great job Dr. Karen!

  31. Maria says:

    OMG Karen. I was thinking of getting a few chickens. You have completely and utterly dissuaded me from that forever. Thank you for that. Cuddles is thanking you too. Such a lucky girl (each of you).

  32. ronda says:

    poor, poor Cuddles. Glad you were able to bring her back from the brink.

  33. OH.Boy. You are officially the bravest woman on earth. Thank Gawd you didn’t have pictures of the maggots. I may have thrown up in my mouth a little.

    Seriously tho. Total chicken hero.

    Lynne 🙂

  34. Ann says:

    I so fear flystrike and the other awful thing, botfly. Both can happen on chickens and rabbits and I have both. I am a pretty tough old girl but I think either of these will put me off for a good long while. Karen, you and I may be built of the same stock tho. When it comes to our animals that we have bonded with, we will go the extra mile no matter how hideously nasty the situation is.

    We have had a long string of wet and hot weather. I promise to do better watching the ass end of all my livestock from here on out

  35. So glad she’s ok! I feel like I know her! Good thing she has you to take such good care of her.

  36. Kim says:

    I am sooo glad she is ok! You rock chicken mom!!!

  37. Tara says:

    Oh man. I’m so glad Cuddles made it through. And you have officially convinced me I don’t have the stomach to raise chickens.

  38. Kirsten ilczyna says:

    Gross…. Just gross! I look forward to your posts while drinking my morning coffee and eating toast. Not today!!!! I’m glad cuddles is ok, however I will spend the rest of my day with thoughts of flesh eating maggots in my head.

  39. mayr says:

    HUGE sigh of relief. Such a good chicken mama you are.

  40. jainegayer says:

    Poor Cuddles! She’s been through so much. And maggots, Karen! I can’t even imagine.
    I can’t get the visual out of my head.

  41. Mary W says:

    I had chickens for years but never had this happen. They were in a coop at night then I let them free range over 10 acres during the day. At night they all ran home to roost. Most of the time they spent on my back porch – pooping. They just loved the color I painted it so they headed there every day to do their business. I love in Florida so it was very hot in the summer with plenty of flies and every other kind of nasty insect but never had this happen. Could it be because they ran around outside or maybe I was just lucky? (That’s not really possible.) Maybe you have discovered the reason chicken peck on wounds – to get rid of insects but they just don’t know when to stop. I have a friend that traveled to central america, got bit by a fly (he thought) then months later had a HUGE bot worm crawl out of his back. The doctor here thought the growth was a cyst and before he operated, the thing hatched. Now that was a gross real life nightmare.

    • Mary W says:

      I have loved in Florida but tried to write “live” – stupid auto spell. So glad Cuddles has made it again. Karen the book idea is a great idea. So many people would love the information and entertainment that if you wrote it for a fun read, it could be enjoyed by lots of people without chickens, too. Just look at the success of the All Things Bright and Beautiful series. Just in case you had nothing to do between 3AM and 6AM since I know your busy the rest of the time. When I was small, before air conditioners, there was always long rolls of sticky paper hanging from the ceiling covered in stuck on flies. It was sold everywhere since it worked well and was cheap and everyone had the same problem – FLIES. The flies were bad but the rolls of stuck on dead flies were horrible but effective.

    • Karen says:

      Ack. ACK!!! ~ karen!

  42. Rose says:

    My boyfriend were sitting here in Des Moines IA in a thunderstorm laughing out loud reading this morning. So glad Cuddles made it again! I told him you have the best recipes. We just made the rhubarb cake and it was delicious. I’ve made many of your recipes and all hit the spot. We love you in Iowa Sweetie Pie!

  43. Marta says:

    Very enlightening, Karen. Now my dilemma is: do I let my chicken-owning, maggot-hating sister read this? How can I? How can I not?
    Thanks for the ugly truth. Yes, I’ll have her read this.

  44. magali says:

    I kept feeling tickles on me while reading blogs this morning and I was sure it was because of this post. Turns out I had a tiny spider crawling on me hahaha!

  45. Carolyne says:

    Just when I think having chickens is a good idea you come along with a post like this AAAAAAAAAARRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    Poor Cuddles.
    She is so lucky to have you.

  46. Susan says:

    I was going to read your column before I went to bed last night but since I’m on the east coast and it was really the next morning, I decided to save it for my breakfast reading. Bad decision. Good thing I’ve worked with animals all my life and know how utterly gross they can be, but flystrike isn’t good with coffee and raisin toast. And just as a gross and kind of funny aside, I used to live on a six-week in and out chicken farm. The chickens that didn’t make it were thrown in a pile out behind the barn for the foxes. My dog used to come back from a run with maggots on her fur, so for weeks in the summer, I’d walk out behind the barn with a gallon of javex and douse the damned chicken carcasses every day. I. Hate. Maggots.

  47. Jan in Waterdown says:

    OK, I am never getting any chickens . . .
    Never.
    Ever.
    Karen you are a far far better woman than I.
    Had maggots once in the cupboard under my kitchen sink when “the City” (same as yours) decided it would be a grand idea to give everyone a little green pail for compostable garbage. No, no it’s not, imho :-/

  48. Kelly says:

    YUK! YUK! YUK!…..I really hate the visual of maggots (especially while I’m eating my breakfast), not to mention on a bum!

    I think you need t0 include an alert before some of your posts that suggest readers put down their snacks before proceeding…..lol

    I’m happy to hear that Cuddles has pulled through once again.

    Kudos to you also for the write up in the recent Costco Connection on blogging. It was great to see that awesome picture of you holding Cuddles sitting in your new kitchen once again.
    Congrats!

  49. Jennifer says:

    In a not-great 1997 movie, Meg Ryan defined love to Matthew Broderick. Trust me…it’s relevant:

    http://www.yourepeat.com/watch/?v=m-5SGalKxB4

  50. Ella says:

    Poor Cuddles and poor You! Glad you both made it through it!

  51. Helene says:

    If I tell this story to the resident man there’s just no way in hell he’ll ever let me have hens. HUSH! (Glad you both made it through!)

  52. Barbie says:

    Oh poor Cuddles! I am so glad she made it. She is a VERY fortunate Chicky……to have you for an owner! Bless her sweet lil chicken heart!

  53. I´ve had sick chickens before, but this is way more disgusting that I could ever imagine.
    Poor cuddles, thankfully she´s better now 🙂

  54. Debbie says:

    Sadly, I read this just before breakfast. No breakfast today. Thank you for the no pictures part, though your very descriptive writing (which I usually love) made for a gagging visual. I now know something I could have lived the rest of my life happily not knowing.

    I am glad to know that Cuddles is okay to snack, nap and play golf another day.

  55. Donna says:

    No chickens or slop buckets for me !

  56. Kiara says:

    WOW. Cuddles is lucky to have you. I love reading your posts and seeing the affection with which you care for your verboten chickens.

  57. Shirley says:

    Chicken butt check time tonight! Oh Lord!! I wormed them last night by injection down the throat. That was not fun. May as well check out the other end tonight! I didn’t realize how important a clean butt is for them. A couple of mine have poopy butts too. I think it is the type of feathers they have.

  58. Jodi T. says:

    I’m so glad she’s ok!!! I’ve been wondering how they were doing.

  59. Liz says:

    I was clenching muscles during this post read that I didn’t know I had… shudder. uuuuhhhhhh! Way to go, Cuddles! And extreme kudos to your mom, Karen. gross gross gross.

  60. Ev Wilcox says:

    Who cares about the “F” word when dealing with an ailing pet? Not me! So sorry you both had to go through this. Poor both of you. I am sure you are distressed as much as Cuddles was in pain. Good luck with it all. You are a wonderful chicken mama. Wishing you the best, a fellow lover of animals.

  61. Kipley says:

    I lost my chicken to this last week. She had prolapsed vent and …. the maggots. A few hours later she was dead. I had never heard of it before your article… prolapse yes, but not the fly strike. 🙁

  62. IRS says:

    Holy snappin’ arseholes Batman! Previous to this post, the odds of me ever wanting to raise chickens were about the same as me joining the NASCAR circuit, but after reading this, I can honestly say that I will tar and feather myself before any living chickens ever make it onto my property. I know that Cuddles is not just a source of eggs for you (or used to be), but is a beloved pet, so I am glad that she is OK now. However, I still say you are playing with your food. Go out and get a fistful of McNuggets, and bring home a nice dog. Maggots in chicken butts? Sheesh. And I thought expressing canine anal glands was gross.

  63. Melissa in NC says:

    Cuddles is a survivor! Thanks to you, the best chicken momma ever. Thank you for not posting any gross photos. I could barely read the post without gaging.

  64. Karol says:

    My favorite part of this post…
    The chickens wake up about 2 hours before I do so by the time I get downstairs they’re all waiting by the door anxious to get their jam packed day of scratching, pooping and lounging underway. Chickens: the men of the animal world.
    Ha! Good one Karen!
    My least favorite part was that I was (I said WAS) eating breakfast while I read the post. Just reading the word maggot makes me woozy. Maggots and chicken butts, not for the faint of heart.

  65. brenda says:

    you are def a most excellent chicken mommie!

  66. Jennie Lee says:

    I’m sorry that you and Cuddles had to go through all that. Do you think ALL copper marans have nice clean bums? If so, I’d definitely stick with copper marans, if I were you.

  67. Jackie says:

    Oh, Poor Cuddles, and poor you. I can’t imagine doing all that you do. You & Cuddles are lucky to have each other. And Cuddles is one tough bird. Love to you both.

  68. Tigermom says:

    Wow. Congratulations on nursing Cuddles through another near death experience.

    It’s looking like my decision to experience chicken ownership vicariously through you was one of my best.

  69. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Cuddles looks adorable in the pantry..she is a cute chick..lol..it so sad that she gets the grossest things wrong with her..I’m glad she is all better again……Am I forgiven yet??

  70. Gretchen Sexton says:

    What a ‘tale’! Ha! I’m SO glad it had a happy ending! Ha!

  71. Alex says:

    F@cking maggots! I learned I can handle a lot after I picked maggots out of an injured baby squirrel at three am one night. (Orphaned animals often have fly eggs or maggots.) Dusting with cornstarch makes them easier to remove. It makes them less sticky. Yuck!

    • Dee says:

      Good on you for taking care of the injured squirrel and Thank you for the cornstarch info….we never know when/if that info could be a life saver for some animal. When an animal needs us we have to suck it up and do what we can….save the reactions for later.

  72. Anita says:

    GASP! Poor cuddles! Thank you for putting right in the title that she’s ok. Oh that poor baby. What an ordeal, for you BOTH.

  73. Lisa says:

    So, for the first time I do not read your post the minute I wake up in the morning, but decide to read it while eating lunch…bit mistake. Glad she is on the mend.

  74. Vikki says:

    Your love for your chickens warms my heart, Karen.

  75. Lori says:

    I love that you love your chickens so much. My daughter has chickens and oh the things we have been through. Even had to find a vet who could euthanize a chicken humanely.
    A couple of things that might work for Cuddles: to keep flys away there are two products that work well on our horses. SWAT, a fly ointment and the spray we use is Pyranha https://www.pyranhainc.com/ It works great!
    For healing try Vetericyn . It comes in several forms. We like the spray gel. Best of luck to you and the chickadees!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Lori! I think the good thing about the Wonderdust is it is dry. Anything ointmenty would be wet and attract the flies. I used to use Wonderdust on my horse (this was years ago) and loved it them but I’m sure there are a whole host of better products out now. 🙂 I’ll take a look at your suggestions ~ karen!

  76. Suzanne says:

    Karen! I’m sorry to hear that cuddles had another rough patch. When I read the story I was utterly confused. I thought maggots/flies (other than bott flies which I think are in South American) only ate dead tissue. They even use maggots to clean wounds.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maggot_therapy
    Imagine my surprise! ( It was not nearly as bad as finding maggots on Cuddles’ bootie.)Despite all this I plan on getting chickens when we move in a month to a place that allows us to have chickens. Is there a breed that has less dirty butts than another breed? Or is it just each individual chicken’s thing? Thanks again for keeping us informed. Cuddles is cool.

    • Karen says:

      Good! I’m glad you’re still going to get chickens. And I’m glad the people who were freaked out by this aren’t going to get chickens anymore. Because if you can’t handle this and think chickens are just going to be an easy road with free eggs, that’s not what it’s about. For the most part you’re their vet. And if something goes wrong you have to figure it out or ask others in the chicken community because a) most people don’t want to spend thousands of dollars keeping a chicken alive as opposed to a dog and b) most vets won’t/don’t treat chickens. As far as the bum thing goes, I have no idea. I just know my two mixed breeds have poopy bums and my two Marans do not. No idea why. It could be the amount of water they take in (looser poops means they’re more likely to stick to feathers on the way out) or their basic shape or what they snack on. Since there’s no figuring it out, you’d be best to look at breeds that are good in the type of weather you have. My Marans are NOT good in this heat. They’re always panting. They prefer the cold. So that’s something to consider. ~ karen!

      • Rebecca says:

        I have a flock of Plymouth Barred Rocks. And, I have one of the bunch that has a poopy rear. Miss Piggy is the queen of foraging (though not widely free-ranging), eats EVERYthing and is constantly on the lookout for something else that might become available. The others that are a bit more refined and controlled, have beautiful clean backsides.

        My problem is that these chickens do NOT like being touched. Miss Piggy is the only one who will hop up on my knee and stay there until she thinks I’m going to touch her. I got them when they were 11 weeks old because I was so busy at work that I didn’t trust being able to monitor a brooder as well as I should. I won’t make that choice again. Any tips for how to clean the bum of a chicken who doesn’t like to be touched…besides sneaking out in the dark with a headlight on and pulling her out of the coop?

        So glad Cuddles is well! I’m going to try the rotted shrimp fly trap too (but not tell my husband first).

        • Teresa Corum says:

          Try some cornmeal in their food. This help with the poop sticking to the bum. I think we all as chicken folk have experienced this at one time or another. The cornmeal does seem to help. Also use lemongrass oil with water & spray bum feathers & flies DO NOT LIKE THIS AND IS NOT GOING TO HURT THE HEN. IF ALL ELSE FAILS , HAIRCUT!!!!

  77. Kelli says:

    Ugggghhhh maggots. Bad enough on their own, but poor Cuddles! I didn’t even know this was a thing. See? I learn a lot from you. Even the icky stuff. Kudos on the karma to come!

  78. maggie van sickle says:

    You are one good chicken Mom. Not sure I could deal with that. Kudos to you Karen.

  79. Kathy says:

    It read like a wonderful story of love. Cuddles unable to help herself and you did all you possibly could to care for her. She looks beautiful in your pantry, like she feels safe. The story moved me. Thanks for sharing.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Kathy. To be honest I think both Cuddles and I were surprised it turned out so well. I actually said my goodbyes to her (out loud) the first night she was sick. Told her it was O.K. … she could go. I never expected her to be alive in the moning. This isn’t a chicken who listens to me apparently. ~ karen!

  80. Jack Ledger says:

    I guess even maggots have a good side………

    Certain blowfly maggots — notably, those of the blackbottle fly (Phormia regina) and the greenbottle fly (Phaenicia sericata) — were used in medicine to consume and clear away both bacteria and dead tissue from deep wounds and so promote their healing. This was a favorite part of the treatment of osteomyelitis (infection of bone) and other deep suppurative (pus-filled) lesions. In a sense it was biologic (rather than surgical) debridement of a wound. The maggots also promoted healing by secreting allantoin, a supposedly salutary substance found also in fetal urine.

  81. Maggie says:

    So glad to hear Cuddles pulled through! Thankfully, my hens have never been plagued with flystrike. Please know that rabbits can be targets for flystrike as well. (Just in case you ever get them.)

  82. Teddee Grace says:

    I didn’t know this had a name. I had this happen to a cat and had to have her put down. It was terrible. I’m so glad you were able to help Cuddles recover. She is not having an easy life.

  83. Shauna says:

    You need Spalding Fly Predators: https://www.spalding-labs.com/products/fly_control_products/fly_control_for_backyard_chickens/default.aspx

    Seems pricey at first, but works wonders and only need to replace every 4-6 months if I remember correctly.

    I’m still gagging over here. Maggots (and roaches) are the F**#ING worst!

    • Shauna says:

      p.s., you just reminded me to place my 2015 order. They provide a 6 month schedule with the full cost, but you can opt to pay per shipment before each one is sent out. I have 4 chickens and ordered 6 shipments starting in July for $127.38; each shipment is $21.23. Each shipment is 5000 fly predators, except the first one where you get a bonus of 10,000 fly predators.

      • Karen says:

        Thanks Shauna! I’ll take a look. I don’t think $127 is a bad price if they work. Mind you. It’s a bunch of bugs that rapidly reproduce for free for the suppliers, lol. Chances are they don’t ship to Canada but I can look into it here. ~ karen!

        • Phylicia Mann says:

          I use fly preditors and the work fantastic with horses. I wonder if the chickens would eat the cocoons the little guys hatch from though?

          • Karen says:

            Thanks for the reminder! Other readers said they use fly predators last year and I wanted to remember to order some. I’ll look into it today! ~ karen

  84. Leslie says:

    Cuddles is a fighter. And good for you for knowing your flock’s habits so well. She has a good home.

  85. Itzy says:

    Hi Karen,
    Congratulations !
    Flystrike can also be deadly to goats.
    I think any ‘pet’ can be plagued with it. Daily inspections are essential. I was thinking DE might be great to sprinkle on sores or cuts that flies love to find. I sent you info on Ziploc bags with water in them. Add strip of blue painters tape. Around barn and chicken coop. Amazing results ! ‘No Pest Strips’ are great in food containers and closed in areas. NC Dept of Agriculture approves their use.
    I do swear by DE but am careful during application. Do not breathe dust or get it in eyes. Also stops squash bugs ! We often have a white garden ! LOL. It is effective after getting wet. Rain washes it down into soil where grub worms flourish. There moles/voles ruin a smooth yard and make it dangerous for horses etc. Step in deep tunnel and snap a leg bone. Very expensive vet bill, sometimes worse. It dries with soil and is effective again. Pool DE does not work, been over processed for that.
    We buy the Food Grade of DE. We add it to all feed.
    Goats, Horses, Dogs, Cats, even birds. You can find several articles online.
    So glad Cuddles is doing great. Been there, done that.
    Not an easy task.
    I even used a bleach mixture. Life with ‘critters’ is not easy. Daily inspections are vital.

  86. TERRI says:

    Never had fly strike on my chickens but I will tell you that in the years of chicken keeping I quit trying to give them antibiotics in their water or food. I now give shots and its the fastest I have seen chickens recover…. I highly recommend the injection, esp being most of the time they are to sick to eat or drink. Then you can blog about giving your first injection…. easy peasy after the first time.

    • Karen says:

      I’ve given horses shots, I’m sure I could handle a chicken. I’ll ask my vet about it! Thx. ~ karen!

  87. Teresa Jennings Richardson says:

    I love chickens, but can’t have them in my small backyard. So I enjoy other people’s . Naturally, when I saw this article, I thought of you and how you pamper your girls. You may have seen this already, and it may not be anything you would like, but I wanted to share this neat chicken feeder made from PVC pipe with you just in case you did. http://www.budget101.com/showthread.php…

    ‪#‎DIY‬ ‪#‎MYO‬ ‪#‎Chickens‬ ‪#‎Backyard‬ ‪#‎home‬ ‪#‎DoItYourself‬ ‪#‎Budget101‬

  88. Daphne says:

    Lost my 7 year old hen Dorothy to this cheap horror story two months ago. She had some problems pooping for months so I had to clean her behind every now and then. When it was time for her weekly bum bath I noticed she didn’t want to eat. When I picked her up and checked her butt it was pretty obvious why she wasn’t feeling well. I might be Dutch, but I’ve used the same F-words you did. Sadly, Dorothy was too far gone and I had to do the right thing. She seriously laid an egg and was still bitching her girls (and rooster) around two days before she died. Such weird but amazing animals.

  89. Julie says:

    I thought the article about “flystrike” on Wikipedia was horrifying, and then I read the rest of this post.

  90. Christal says:

    Gross, gross, gross! I’m glad she’s ok, though! You are a maggot-exterminating warrior woman!

    On an unrelated note, you used the phrase “the odd time” three times here, twice in one paragraph. Do I sense a new favorite phrase? I totally do that. My friends still tease me about the summer of ‘amazing!’…

  91. Susan says:

    7. Dust your chicken coop

    I thought of you when I read this article about diatomaceous earth. I had never heard of this before.
    #7 is
    dust your chicken coop

    Many chicken keepers add diatomaceous earth to their chicken coop and chickens’ dust bath to protect their chickens against lice and mites. Even if you coop currently doesn’t have this problem, a regular regime of diatomaceous earth can prevent these problems from cropping up. the article is at
    http://eatlocalgrown.com/article/13670-uses-for-diatomaceous-earth.html?c=NSM

  92. Cyndi L Collinge says:

    Happy Boxing Day, fellow chicken nut!
    I thought only myself (and my friend Patty-who also happens to be a vet) would bother to do such things for our chickens! You my friend are a saint! Funny as h*ll too, (tho a little crude). It truly warms my heart to know your pet chicken got to come into your house and “rule the roost” so to speak when she was unwell. I most recently raised 2 chicks inside (Sonny&Cher), who’s mother had abandoned them. It was 8 “short” months to me, and 8 “long” months to my husband.
    They would spend all day outside with me, then come in at night and after a snooze and cuddle and a curl-up on my dog Neil, I would put them in their crate for the night. So I totally get it! I look foreward to more great stuff on your site, and thanks so much for doing it. All the best, Cyndi L.

  93. esther says:

    I was so happy to see her perched in the pantry!! Bless her, sweet girl! I’m so glad I read this, had no idea they could get maggots! My Ameraucanas tend to have poopy bums. One of my girls had an incident with my dog, and she lived in my master bath tub for 3 weeks while I nursed her back to health! My husband thought I should’ve given up on her that first night. Why would I have animals and not do all I could to make them well?! People think folks like us are crazy, but I sure love my girls, all 11 of them!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Esther! You’re right. People don’t think of chickens as pets but they are! Well … some of them are more like pets than others. 😉 ~ karen!

  94. Paula says:

    One of my four chickens is definitely my pet, she comes when I call her and sits on my lap when I sit down outside. She was injured about four weeks ago and has taken up residency in my kitchen because I didn’t want the other chickens to eat her (as they had started to do). She is in a rabbit cage in the evenings and she seems quite content and not stressed because she is laying well. I let her outside during the day to run around. Now my concern is re-introducing her to her ‘sisters’; I have considered getting another couple of chickens to take the pressure of off her. lol
    The warmer weather is coming (hopefully) so I will have to keep watch for flystrike; I read this post last summer but I had forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder.

  95. Fk says:

    Thanks for info tomorrow the d.e. powder is getting reapplied and I’m hanging those Stinky jugs to catch flies… again

  96. Excellent info! I lost a hen to that as I was a novice. I’ve never heard of WonderDust wound powder but will add to my chicken 1st aid kit!!!

  97. I’ll add a link back on my blog

  98. Phylicia Mann says:

    Oh my GOSH! I was laughing so hard at your explaination of the F word I atarted crying! I completely agree! I could not think of a more perfect use of the word in that situation!

    Meanwhile, my husband thinks I have completly lost my mind because your posts make me laugh out loud!

  99. Gazza H says:

    Maggots don’t eat fresh flesh, it has to be infection… Maggots suck up juices not chew flesh.
    Glad your chook survived.

    I use a fly zapper and remove the tray, then the dead flies fall to the floor and my chickens eat them. Win win!

    • Karen says:

      I’m sorry to correct you Gazza H, but that’s untrue. It’s a common misconception. Maggots absolutely will eat through live flesh as anyone who has seen a case of Flystrike in either humans or animals will attest to. If you still don’t believe me, I think if you Google images of Flystrike you’ll be convinced. ~ karen!

  100. Evette peterson says:

    What kind of antibiotics did you use, I have my 7 girls left list one to the same thing, my little granddaughter loves them

  101. Marvelous chocolate cookies says:

    I was trying very hard to read this page of your blog, but it crashed my browser two times. Reading this on mobile now…The error message I got was “script stopped running” – thought you might want to look into that. Thanks for the helpful info and RIP Cuddles. Love the chicken butt photos 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Thanks for letting me know! I do want to know. I’ll let the people who provide my ads know. thx. ~ karen!

  102. Kim Nagy says:

    Your blog was very informative and helped us determine what was wrong with our hen. Started with a poopy bun….then picking out over 100 maggots by hand. Used peroxide, followed by a spa bath and vetericyn….she may or may not make it as she is already old…but this happened SO quickly. Even my chicken gurus never heard about fly strike. Important to share. Not giving up on having chickens….

    • Karen says:

      That’s great Kim. I hope she’s doing O.K. Yes, it doesn’t seem to be talked about that much in the chicken world but it IS a concern and definitely happens with chickens. I had a reader who lost a hen to flystrike who emailed me for advice just a few months ago. Let me know how she’s doing. And if she’s made it so far don’t forget to check several times over the next few days for more maggots. ~ karen!

  103. Robbie Erickson says:

    Thanks, Karen, for the wake up call. I’d never heard of Flystryke, and hope I never see it. At least now if I do see it I won’t panic. I’ll gag and cry and probably vomit, but I will be able to do what you did and hopefully save my chicken. I have a couple of girls that I need to give a booty bath to every week or so in the summer, but I never thought to check them for maggots.

    I’m sorry you lost Cuddles…her name says it all. I’sure she’s missed. I have five new month old silkies and one of them is a cuddler…I think I’ve found her new name. We called them Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta and Echo to keep track of their hatching order, but Bravo would be a much better Cuddles.

  104. Robin says:

    Thank you for letting me know I am not the only one who has gone through this with one of her girls! My sweet Bess was sickly for a long time, in fact I carried her to food, sun spots and bathed her for months. Each morning I dreaded opening the coop door expecting the worst and each morning she greeted me and talked so sweet. Then she made a miraculous recovery {I credit kale}. Happy Days!! Three months later to my horror she went done very quick and like you I had the WTF moment. Unfortunately my Bess did not make it but thank you so much for your post. I did not know what it was or what caused it. Thanks to you if one of the other girls has this problem I may be able to do something.

    • Karen says:

      You’re definitely not the only one Robin. I don’t know how long you dug into my archives (if at all) but at Christmas this past year Cuddles died. Actually I had to have her put to sleep because she refused to die even though she could barely lift her head for days! It was a sad thing to have to do at Christmas but I couldn’t bear to see her in so much pain and discomfort. This spring I got “Sweetie” who is a devil-chicken, lol. Very sweet. But quite a nutjob too. ~ karen!

  105. Lona Yeiter says:

    My Pheobe had maggots this past June. I thought she had been injured, but after reading your post I’m sure that it was Flystrike. I cleaned her for days, but the maggots kept coming back (and yes, that was one of the most repulsive, sickening thing I have ever experienced). She was an absolutely incredible, funny, loving Plymouth Barred Rock, personality personified, and it was killing me to see her suffer. I am fortunate, I have a husband that will take care of euthanizing our sick farm animals, as I would never be able to do it myself. Pheobe is now united with her sister Sybil, in Chicken Heaven. Thank you for sharing Cuddles with us. I will raise chickens for the rest of my life, or at least until they move me to a home.

    • Karen says:

      Aw. I’m so sorry about Phoebe, Lona. Not a lot of people know about flystrike in Chickens. I sure didn’t until Cuddles got it! So heartbreaking to see them so sick. 🙁 ~karen!

  106. Colleen D. Cailes says:

    My Beyonce just had a case of flystrike. Turns out she has a tumor on her hind end and it broke through the skin leaving her vulnerable. I brought her in and bathed her treated her with Vetricyn (does anybody else think this stuff is miraculous?) I took her to the vet and she is inoperable. She is my favorite so I am just keeping her comfortable in the garage with lots of treats. She gets pretty much anything she will eat. I live in hope that she will recover, she is a sweet chicken.

  107. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m in the process of renovating an old farm to produce a cooking school with a vegetable garden with Chickens! I didn’t know about this – really good to know! It’s not going to deter me though. I still have a couple of years to go until I am ready to have chickens, and I cannot wait! Thank you for sharing your experience and what you did to overcome it!

  108. Amy Hayes says:

    I am sorry to hear that Cuddles has passed away. I discovered your blog because I saw a post somewhere about Cuddles being sick and followed her story. Have followed your blog since then.

  109. Kim says:

    I just wanted to post a reply to this, even though it’s way late, because your blog post really helped us. We had the same experience, of seeing one of our hens get quite sick quickly. Turns out she had flystrike. Which is actually far more disgusting than your post made it out to be. Luckily, my boyfriend is a champion and got her all cleaned up. I was ready to take her to our chicken dispatching friend, because I was SURE she was going to die. It was awful! How could a small, sick bird recover?!? But, with some TLC and indoor living in a pen near a heat source, she totally recovered. She’s a happy hen once again. I’m not sure if she lays eggs or not (have never ever figured out how people catch them in the act – I’m too busy to stare at them all day and they’re sneaky), but she enjoys herself once again. Thanks for the help and guidance!

  110. Andre says:

    Just when I think I’ve heard of all the things that can go wrong with chickens- Bam somebody posts something new to me?
    Thanks for sharing, never knew about this? But yes makes perfect sense.
    As well what kind if antibiotics did the vet prescribe?
    Happy farming, from Geraldton Ontario Canada.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Andre. I just used antibiotics that I had at home from a previous episode of egg yolk peritonitis which was Apo Tetra. It isn’t always a good idea to just use whatever you have on hand because different antibiotics are used for different things as you know, but in this case it was life or death. And it worked! ~ karen

  111. Kathy J Getek says:

    I so appreciate this blog…gross as it may be. I’m new to this chicken raising thing. We moved from the east coast to Missouri last year and made a make shift chicken run with a coop. I let my 7 buff orpingtons free range. Bad idea…fox or something got them all in one swoop. So sad. So now I have a fully enclosed chicken run and am awaiting some pullets. I’ve dealt with molt and various other ailments but never flystrike. I’m now prepared (I think) for the worst of the worst. I’ll at least know what I need to do to try and save one of my girls. Thanks Karen for taking one for the chicken loving team!

  112. Allison says:

    May I just say, I’m so sorry. Also, I am a diatomaceous earth fanatic, I always sprinkle in the coop to kill larvae and bugs. I kind of layer under hay or shavings. It is dust so it should not be inhaled by humans or even chickens so you have to be mindful with it. I only buy foodgrade and organic. It is a miracle worker. In addition we add oregano oil to their water weekly and that help she with parasites. Wanted to share what works for me.

  113. Jo says:

    Thanks for your humorous but informative recount.

    Our beautiful girl, Bessie, has Flystrike and I am worried as to what to do. I have soaked her in a warm bath and wiped most of the foul smelling liquid and faeces from her bottom. I will now try antibiotics and hope to God that she makes it! She’s such a soft, friendly chook.

    Wish me luck!!!

    • Karen says:

      It looks like she’s healing up. Just keep an eye on it to make sure no more maggots are coming out. Also cover it with powder like I suggest to keep it dry. And look into every means possible for controlling flies! I use traps, parasitic wasps and try to keep things relatively clean in the coop. It’s a horrible thing to go through. Good luck! ~ karen!

  114. Richard says:

    So I’ve had this happen a couple of times. What you need to do is go to the grocery store and buy the shampoo they sell for head lice. Mix a directed in a bucket of water, like a mop bucket and hold your chickens butt in the water for about five minutes. You will kill about 95% of them on the first go but best to follow up with a couple more treatments on consecutive days.

    • Karen says:

      Interesting! Good to know Richard. Much more efficient (and less gross) than washing them in the chicken in the bathtub! ~ karen

  115. hannah says:

    hi,
    thanks for this, even though it was a disgusting read. i have 3 chickens and i didn’t want them to get anything like this (i also hate flies, and especially their babies, ack!) so i found something on another chicken blog that you might appreciate. it works AMAZING at killing flies!!! get a mason jar with a lid, put a piece of meat in the jar (i used sandwhich meat but any kind will do), pour some maple syrup over this to cover the meat, let’s say about an inch, poke some holes in lid big enough for flies to get through, screw the lid on and leave this by your chicken coop, recycling bin, or anywhere you have flies. THIS WORKS! you will catch MASSIVE AMOUNTS of flies! you’ll be amazed—i tried it last summer and caught at least a bazillion—they were to the very top of the jar within a few days, which is disgusting when you think about how many flies that is, but who cares? flies in jar=no flystrike!

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