Ella, eggs, legs and drama

November 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

And now it’s Ella’s turn to give us the heebie-jeebies.

We were away Saturday-Sunday, so the girls had been allowed to be a bit feral with going to bed. But we were home in time on Sunday night to insist that everyone slept on a perch (as opposed to Gabrielle and Katie’s preferred nestbox-option, if they come in when it’s a bit dark — which they always do if left to their own devices!) Lily and Neroli have taken to sleeping on the two newer perches, above the popholes. And on Sunday night Ella decided that the breeze from the open door while I was coaxing K and G onto a perch was just too much, so had flumphed her way across to join them. (Lily and Neroli, that is.)

When I let them out yesterday morning, there was a reasonable amount of kerfuffle. Ella and Claire quite often perform … shall we say, “involuntary perch dismounts” in the mornings, especially if they get themselves in a position where they are slightly blocking the more agile girls’s path to the door. There was a normal flap and cackle, but then Ella came out the pophole with her left leg dragging behind her. She sort of half fell, half tripped, half toppled out. But she couldn’t put any weight on the leg.

Oh god, not again.

We took her in to see Pauline straight away. I hadn’t been able to feel a break, but then I wasn’t able to feel Frida’s breaks either. The whole way in I just kept thinking that I didn’t know if I could face going through all this again. For starters, Ella is huge – she’s 5.6kg, and very tall. Add to that her age (5 years old), and the fact that she doesn’t metabolise calcium very well (hence half her eggs laid last month were BIN – Broken In Nest), and she just wasn’t going to be a candidate for the sort of surgical intervention that Frida went through.

Pauline looked almost as worried as we did. This was Ella’s third medical episode (her eye injury in 2008, and then her impacted crop a few years ago – at least, it feels like a few years ago …), or fourth if you counted the false alarm after Venus had to be put down, when I panicked that Ella’s buldge might also be a huge tumor. So Pauline has had plenty to do with her in the past. We laid her on her side, and Pauline started to investigate.

To cut a long story short, it isn’t broken. It isn’t even dislocated, thank heavens. After taking four or five X-rays (and Ella doing an enormous poo all over the X-ray machine – sigh!), she thinks its an impingement on the nerves controlling that leg. Apparently they are quite close to the surface, and the egg that Ella had on the way looked to be pressing on the area where they are. There could also be some infection in her egg tract, causing some swelling and hence also impinging on the nerves. So if Pauline’s right, Ella’s usual morning clumsiness may be due to her morning egg-laying, and the specific issue here was the impingemnt-induced clumsiness causing her to fall off the perch and wrench her leg muscles/tendons. So she’s in the dog crate cage for a couple of days to restrict her movement, plus antibiotics for the infection and pain meds to ease the discomfort while the muscles heal. Pauline also gave her a calcium injection to help make sure she passed the egg ok and didn’t add egg binding to the other dramas.

So far things look pretty good. She’s much less stiff and sore, and has laid with no trouble. Lots of mess, but no trouble. She’s also threatening to go broody, which might not be a bad thing. Keep her quiet and calm for a while …


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