Frida and catastrophe

July 22, 2009 § Leave a comment

frida-one-year-oldOh boy. Just when we were staring to think that things might be calm for a while …

For the last week or so we’ve had a bit of temporary run that goes between the house and the hedge – to get to it, they duck out the back door of the run, trot around the back of their house, and gallop at full tilt along beside the hedge. (It’s been a popular spot – lots of virginal scritching territory, and according to Bessie the twigs are very pleasant to recline against for some advanced sunning on those bits of skin that only rarely get exposed to the shocked gaze of the human onlookers.)

The weather has been glorious lately – a real sense of spring just around the corner, and the girls all a bit giddy. This afternoon I went out to get the washing in, and tossed a handful of chickweed into the temporary bit. Everyone except Poppy and Frida managed to remember which door to get out of, but they were more interested in having chasing flapping games and being muppets. Anyhow, Frida darted into the house, and I heard her do one of her big flapping leaps up onto the perches.

Then dead silence.

Then Poppy darted to the doorway, and stood there, peering in.

I walked over to them, and called to Frida. I could see her through the pophole, sitting under the bottom perch. She was sitting very still, with her wings slightly outstretched the way they do when they’re feeling a bit broody and there’s an egglike shape under them.

I had to climb into the run and half into the house to reach her. She didn’t move or make a sound when I reached out to her. Something bad was obviously wrong.

I managed to scoop her up fairly gently and lift her out – having to fight Poppy off (jealous chicken, who considers me her personal cuddling property) and shut doors etc to keep the others safe. Frida just stayed absolutely still in my arms, but floppy, like a ragdoll. She kept her right leg and wing trailing, so I kept her left side against my body and got her inside.

I gave her a very gentle examination, but I couldn’t be sure what was wrong. She didn’t flinch, or make a sound through the whole thing. Logically it had to be something like a break or a dislocation of either right wing or right leg, but I couldn’t be sure which or where.

I managed to contact the vets and leave messages for Stewart to come home as soon as he could – once getting her settled against my body I couldn’t put her down, or even move very much myself. So I was sitting on the floor, cradling my poor girl when he got home. We got her into the cat-cage with towels curled to support her, and got her in to the vet. Pauline (our avian specialist) wasn’t there, but the vet we saw confirmed that it was a broken leg, and quite high up. And that it won’t be easy to fix – not enough distance between the break and the joint, so a cast won’t do the trick, and we may have to do something esoteric like pinning the bone.

So there’s nothing to be done until Pauline gets a chance to X-ray her tomorrow morning. She’ll stay in the clinic overnight. She’s on pain meds, and they’re going to try and bandage her in such a way that she can’t do any more damage to herself.

frida-at-33-daysOne of those incredibly bizarre accidents. All I can think is that she must have misjudged her leap and wacked her leg into the underside of the perch on the way up. But even so, how she could do it hard enough to break the bone … ?!

My poor baby Frida. I don’t think any of us will sleep terribly well tonight.

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