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    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th, 2016 3:07pm (Feb 11th 2016) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    In the winter months it's a bit depressing when you work full-time and keep chickens as you never really get to see them - it's still dark when you set off for work and it's dark again by the time you get home... so it's nice that I have viewers on here to keep an eye on the hens for me and today at lunch time I received an email saying Erika was getting picked on and she had strange colouring around her neck (thank you Bri) - I had a quick look but couldn't see anything, but something didn't look 'right' as she kept going in and out of the coop and Renee seemed to be chasing her more than usual.

    Then I noticed it. Blood. All around Erika's neck, and I'm at work with a horrible feeling of dread and helplessnes...

    I googled what we can do as I couldn't find any blu-kote wound spray in the UK, and found that pine-tar spray is supposed to be very good for stopping pecking of wounds - I drove to Skipton and bought some from an equestrian shop and will douse the area liberally tonight - it might work out for the best tonight as it will mean Erika will have gone to bed so will be easier to catch (though nobody can say how serious it is - hopefully it's not as bad as it looks).

    Fingers and wings crossed...
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th, 2016 6:08pm (Feb 11th 2016)
     
    Poor Erica...hope you can sort her out. Have they been scrapping do you think?
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th, 2016 8:36pm (Feb 11th 2016)
     
    It's great that someone spotted that and let you know - well done Erika!! I hope she's OK.
    • CommentAuthorLynnW
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th, 2016 6:28am (Feb 12th 2016)
     
    Poor Erika, I hope she will be alright. I wish it was Spring so I could watch them in the daylight hours...they are always in bed by the time I can get up in the morning.:face-sad: Wish I wasn't 4,600 miles away.
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th, 2016 10:29am (Feb 12th 2016) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Thanks guys, I was really stressing yesterday as I felt totally helpless and a bit overfaced by it all (makes me really realise how far away Scarlet is!)

    I put off treating Erika last night for as long as I could as I was really dreading it (both the actual having to spray a very flighty chicken that would struggle, and also what I might find), it took a call from Scarlet to get me motivated and out there with a towel to bind Erika up if she struggled.

    Luckily she was an absolute star - didn't struggle at all and just let me hold her under one arm and spray around her neck with the most horrible strong smelling stuff I've had the misfortune to work with! It's like a tree-y almost pine smell, but not good!

    Anyway, this morning she's spent most of the time in the coop away from the other hens - that's ok I guess, and I gave them some mealworms she did come out and eat with the other hens.

    I've just checked now and can't see the hens on any of the cameras - freaking out a bit. :(

    [edit] Helen went to check on the hens, they seem to be huddling away from the worst of the weather so seem ok thankfully - we have snow flurries today.
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th, 2016 1:08pm (Feb 12th 2016)
     
    Well done Neil it is always easier to do things with them at night as they are calm and sleepy they have poor night vision so dont panic like they do daytime. It is much colder today so hopefully they will be more interested in eating loads to keep warm and will forget all about pecking on each other xx
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th, 2016 4:22pm (Feb 12th 2016)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Helen has been off work and looked after them today - gave them more food bowls and treats so they can't squabble over food, and cleaned a lot of the coop out.

    Think we're going to try plant the tree we've had ages tomorrow morning and put a new grass area in (they've wrecked the old one!), keep them on their toes so to speak!

    Helen says they seem ok together, Erika isn't bleeding but is acting out of sorts - spent time in the coop housing away from the others, although she is ok with them as well, so fingers crossed it's going to be alright.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th, 2016 6:44pm (Feb 12th 2016)
     
    Doh - I meant well done Bri for spotting it, not Erika. Sorry!

    Hope they all calm down and can get on again, and your stinky spray works on her wound. Wonder if she's having similar issues to Kale?
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th, 2016 9:52pm (Feb 12th 2016) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    My dad was so nervous about doing Erika on his own last night (understandably!) but they both did really well - my dad was calm and just held her under his arm, and Erika (despite being Penny-esque) didn't squirm at all.

    This is our pep talk...we had some communication issues, that mass of colour is supposed to be my dad :rolling:

     photo erika_zpslaaf5krv.jpg

    Ah there he is, head torch at the ready!

     photo erika_zpsq34gm5bh.jpg

    He had a towel in case Erika was flappy and squirmy

     photo erika1_zpseafgoxqi.jpg

    It looked like my dad managed to get a good spray around her neck. Hopefully she will heal okay...it really just needs to stop the others from focusing on the red blood :/

     photo erika3_zpsrwxfx5ap.jpg
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeFeb 16th, 2016 2:15pm (Feb 16th 2016) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    I think things are ok - fingers crossed Erika looks ok and the others seem fine with her... phew.
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeFeb 16th, 2016 5:12pm (Feb 16th 2016)
     
    Good...how do you think she got the cut, Neil? Are they arguing over pecking order?
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeFeb 18th, 2016 1:10pm (Feb 18th 2016) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    I don't think so, these were the first ever hens we've had that didn't violently establish the pecking order - they just seemed to get on from day 1 pretty much.

    I have seen the odd 'warning peck' but they wouldn't do damage I think - I don't know whether she just caught it on something in the coop which pulled it the wrong way or maybe she did get a peck just the wrong way..?

    If I could force myself to go through hours of footage I could look at the hencam history and try find where/when it happened, but I'm not sure I could do it!

    [edit] I'm sad enough to try and actually do the above but it only seems to save certain days - no idea why. The 11th isn't one of them so nobody can say what happened...
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeFeb 18th, 2016 5:26pm (Feb 18th 2016)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    No dad, you're sad enough that you asked *me* to do that you mean, and I said the day was missing :rolling:
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeMar 3rd, 2016 9:50am (Mar 3rd 2016)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Still concerned over Erika - looks depressed, tail droopy, low appetite...

    However, she has been drinking, and eaten mealworms - so it doesn't look like cocci as she isn't dead yet (seems to kill hens in 4-6 days normally).

    They've all been wormed so that rules that out. Don't think it's egg-binding as she isn't straining.

    Probably not blood poisoning as that kills hens really quickly.

    Not contagious as other hens are fine.

    Her neck is ok - no wound that I can see, the feathers are a bit matted from the pine tar spray I used to stop the others pecking her when she was bleeding. But it does seem to correlate - others picking on her due to blood around her neck, she was never ok after that.

    I tried to administer some vit drops last night but she really was not having any of it and it felt like it was causing too much stress - I was having to grab her neck, force her beak open and try get the drops in, whilst she struggled and twisted her head each time... :\

    Vets won't do anything except offer to put her to sleep or inject her with antibiotics which they have no idea if she even needs.

    Out of ideas...
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeMar 3rd, 2016 5:22pm (Mar 3rd 2016)
     
    Is her crop all right? Can you isolate her or will that stress her more? Apple cider vinegar? You need to get Nurse Red on the case!
    • CommentAuthorLynnW
    • CommentTimeMar 3rd, 2016 5:57pm (Mar 3rd 2016)
     
    I hope she is going to be alright. Apple Cider Vinegar might help her...at least it won't hurt any of the girls.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeMar 3rd, 2016 9:25pm (Mar 3rd 2016)
     
    Wow it's so stressful owning a hen when there's no help or support from a vet - even a rat is easier to get care for. I hope she gets through this. Can it be depression?
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeMar 11th, 2016 11:18am (Mar 11th 2016) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    I took Erika to the vets last night and she was put to sleep. :(

    She wasn't getting any better and Scarlet was right, it wasn't fair to leave her suffering for so long.

    The vet was really nice and said they did see a few chickens (they're also a farm/equine vets which is good), but re-iterated that by the time a chicken looks ill, it's usually too late. He said she did have some food in her crop, and that her pelvic bones were wide enough that she should have been laying, but obviously something wasn't right so we agreed the best thing was for her to be put to sleep.

    Still reeling from it really, especially with Leslie too. I have dug over and removed the turf and cleaned out the entire coop and housing and DE'd the run and coop (and bleached inside) just to make sure no nasties are hiding, I'm not sure what else I can do.

    We do have plans to get more hens but we'll keep them all separate for a couple of weeks to make sure they don't have any bugs.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeMar 11th, 2016 8:20pm (Mar 11th 2016)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Sometimes you need a shove in the right direction, especially when it's something you're dreading...I'm glad she's not suffering anymore though, and it doesn't sound like it was anything contagious...bit of a mystery really, has me stumped!
    :bighug:
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeMar 11th, 2016 8:27pm (Mar 11th 2016)
     
    So sorry, Neil... :heart:
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeMar 11th, 2016 9:03pm (Mar 11th 2016)
     
    Feeling very sad for you Neil :bighug:
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeMar 11th, 2016 10:40pm (Mar 11th 2016)
     
    So sorry, it's such a shame she didn't recover. At least you know your vet is chicken-aware now. xx
    • CommentAuthorLynnW
    • CommentTimeMar 12th, 2016 5:44pm (Mar 12th 2016)
     
    Oh Neil, I'm so very sorry..:face-crying::044: