I don't know why I keep looking at Gumtree for chickens when I have 5 chickens already. But, last week, there was an ad for a free chicken - "don't know what is wrong with her." The description sounded like her vent was clogged and I thought, hmm I can go see what's wrong with her and maybe fix her up.
So I told the kids that after school we were going to look at a chicken. Would they like a new chicken?
There was resounding "YES!" screamed throughout the car, and they were all excited thinking we were getting a new chicken.
So I went to the place to inspect the chicken to see if she was salvageable. She could be dying, or ridden with parasites. When I got there, it was a delightful young couple whose home was full of DIY stuff - there were rose petals drying in the kitchen and the lady was juicing mandarins in the backyard, and offered me some.
I looked with dismay at my uggs as I glanced around their backyard, which is what the chickens appeared to free range in. Which is great, but there was chicken poo everywhere. Fortunately with careful stepping I managed to avoid excessive soiling of my sheepskin boots!
The chicken in question was standing quietly by the lady, and was quite placid. I picked her up and looked at her bottom which was covered in a dried whitish discharge, dribbling down her backside. Possibly vent gleet (or chicken thrush) which is treatable with some canesten and butt care. I looked at her eyes which seemed alert enough, comb was red and full and not blue or shrivelled and she seemed to be quite a young chicken. The other chickens were all 20 weeks old so she was at point of lay - she probably wasn't laying because she wasn't well.
A few days of isolation and butt baths with some heater and hair dryer butt-drying and application of canesten seemed to perk her up a bit. She was eating happily, drinking heaps and wandering around trying to find her spot in the pecking order with the other chickens. But in between she would stand still during the day and close her eyes. Surely that's not normal.
I had been feeling her crop wondering why she was sick in the first place. Did she have sour crop (which is yeast infection in her crop)? That can come from eating contaminated water or food. Her crop at the end of the day felt full and doughy, a bit different to the firm ball that the other chooks had at the end of the day. Just in case I bought some Nilstat (nystatin) to dose her orally.
This morning I went out to look at her and her crop felt very full. Ugh, I had read about trying to empty these crops by making the chickens vomit but I had tried multiple times with no success. So I'm going to just separate her again, more apple cider vinegar in her water, and give her mashed soft food and twice daily nystatin. I'd read that you give 1mL per 400g, but I think I'll just stick to 1mL per 500g and give her 3mL twice a day and see how that goes. Dosing her isn't too bad, prying a beak open for liquid isn't as hard as it looks. It's just the bum washing in the dead of winter which I baulk at. It's so COLD!
My son named her Lana (though at first he wanted to name her Tony which I said I didn't like since that was a boy's name) and so Lana has now become part of the family. If I succeed in fixing her we'll have another happy egg layer. If not... well, it was a free chicken.