It has been a tough go this fall for the Orpington flock … We lost both Lindy and my good buddy, Agatha, to some type of respiratory problem… Lily (oldest hen in the flock) had been struggling as well – but seemed to pull ahead of it. Seemed … Today the poor thing is really struggling. I have space(s) that I can use for isolating chickens. I set to work preparing our original little coop room to make a warm hideaway for Lil.
While doing that I realized I was hearing an awful lot of wheezing and coughing and sneezing all around me. Yikes! Charlie … Princess… both Isabelles … Added to Lily – that made five. Three from the ‘Newbie’ group of six. This was going to require some planning to be able to isolate these guys.
I ended up turning the Clubhouse (usually a daytime haunt only) into a hospital ward. Suddenly what was discovered while doing my morning chores … meant scrambling well after dark. Charlie and the two Isabelles are usually in close quarters with Norman, Inky and Audrey. When I heard Inky start to sneeze I decided to isolate all six of them WITH Princess. I’ve added antibiotics to their water and Ede came out and was nursemaid so I could give those that were not feeling all that much like drinking their doses with an eye dropper. None of these hens are laying – so I didn’t hesitate to at least try to help them with meds. After having to put two hens down over the last two months … I want to try to avoid that with these guys!
The poor things were confused about why they weren’t getting to go to their normal warm, cozy, well lit bedtime quarters. I waited until dark settled in and then lifted each of them up onto a perch. I don’t normally use a heat lamp – especially when it is only going to hit – 10’C tonight – but a little extra may help them use their energies to get better. I’ve also installed a Cozy Heater (think of it like a wall heater) behind them in the perching box. I’ve stuffed towels into the vents between them and the jenny’s barn so cold air doesn’t flow down on top of them overnight. There is plenty of ventilation in this space to keep the air dry.
I’m kicking myself over this development. I need to do a better job of going into isolation mode when a chicken is ill. I’m lucky I have a friend down the road that is great at diagnosing and treating chicken illnesses. She had experience with this AND had some antibiotics that worked with her flock a while back. It can be difficult to find a ‘chicken veterinarian’. I’ve learned about one not so far away that she has relied on. I think I’ll need to make a connection there so I have access to professional care when something like this starts to impact our flock.
I’m going to want to be up early to see how everyone is doing in the morning. I think we’re in for a number of days of giving medicine to half a dozen birds a half a dozen times a day. Zoiks! Wish us good luck!