Tuesday, November 06, 2007

It's always something around here...

A few days ago I noticed that one of my Easter Egger chickens didn't look right. I was only seeing her from across the chicken yard (as I couldn't get hold of her) but it looked like she was missing a bunch of feathers under her tail around her vent. I couldn't see anything "pasting up" on her and she looked BAR (bright, alert and responsive) so I didn't think much about it. In fact I forgot all about it until this morning when I was in the coop feeding the birds. There she was on one of the roosts with her head down and it looked like someone trimmed a 90 degree angle into her feathers under her tail. I went over and picked her up... which she didn't resist much (never a good sign). I turned her over and could now see a bit of stool pasted to her vent and her vent looked mildly prolapsed. I put her into one of the brooder pens by herself while I finished up with the rest of the chicken chores.

Once I was done with everything else I went back in with her to get her all set up with food and water. I also wanted to clean up her hind end and get a better view of what was going on. The brooder pen is in better light so when I laid her on her back this time and pulled her belly feathers up a bit to get a better view of her vent area did I get a surprise! Maggots!

Now, I have seen more then my share of maggots being a vet tech for over 12 years but still it is never something you want to see. On even closer inspection I could see that she had an open wound about an inch and half long just ventral to her vent. It looked old... and full of maggots. I felt so bad that she had been suffering with this and I didn't know. No wonder she looked so depressed this morning. I had no idea how she got the wound. Was it a laceration, an abscess or had she been egg bound? But what I was looking at was an old wound with dead tissue full of maggots on a depressed chicken that felt thin. I needed to make a desicion about what to do with her. Should I end her suffering and put her down or try to treat it as best I could not knowing how she got it and how extensive the damage may be internally.

Well, I desided I needed to make a strong effort to help her. If she doesn't improve at all over the 24 hours after treatment I will let her go. So, up to the house I went to get supplies. First off, gloves! Then a warm water/betadine flush, a syringe barrel, some 3x3 guaze pads and a topical antibiotic. Back in the coop I flushed the wound until no more maggots emerged from it. Picked of the dirt and scabs and cleaned her up as best I could. Finally, I liberaly applied the topical antibiotic to the wound inside and out. She was so good through the whole ordeal but that could have been that she was so depressed anyway. I set her up on the roost in the brooder pen, gave her some pellets to eat and diluted some powdered antibiotic in her water as well. Time will tell...

Evening Update:

I checked on her several times today and she never seemed worse. This evening at feeding time she was actually preening and it looked as if she had gone through about half the water I had put out for her. I gave the wound a quick look and already it looked much quieter and no sign of any missed maggots either. So, so far so good. In the morning, if she is still with me, I will give the area a good cleaning again and reaply the topical antibiotic. I have seen some of my other birds fully recover from some pretty bad wounds they have gotten from our LGDs so I won't give up hope for her yet.

Got three eggs today.

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