One of those weeks …

October 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Oh lord, what a week. Way too much drama, and not necessarily over yet.

It began (as weeks tend to) on Monday, with Holly. Yes, Miss Holly-lolly-noodle-doodle-flumpf. She of the saggy bottom. Something didn’t seem quite right when I let the girls out first thing in the morning, so I nabbed her to see what was going on.

A prolapse. Not terribly bad yet, and no obvious signs that it had been pecked by the others. But definitely a prolapse. Hardly surprising, given how fat she is, how frequently she lays and how big her eggs are. Anyway, I took her inside and we plonked her on a towel on top of the washing machine (which is in good light, beside a sink, and the right height) to examine further. Time for the latex glove and a generous smear of panalog ointment …

Once we’d pushed everything back in place, it did stay there. But she was obviously in the process of having an enormous morning poo, so we didn’t have much hope of things staying that way for a bit.  Anyway, we got the hospital crate out, shut her in there and got on with the day. The plan was for me to check on her every hour or so and reinsert her (we so need a better phrase for this, although it would be nice to think we’ll never need it again) as needed.

By midday she’d had two huge poos, drank a lot of water, and bitched loudly. And was not prolapsing! It was amazing – her vent looked exactly normal, and the only sign that there had been anything wrong was her presence in the laundry. After a phone confab, we decided to return her to the flock mid afternoon, and just check her regularly. And I’m pleased to report that she has since laid four large eggs, and retained her innards. Yay! So in theory, she should be ok.

Drama #2. Also Monday. Late afternoon, I go out to check on Holly – Hello Holly, show me your bottom – that sort of thing. She was fine, but a little way away I saw that Imogen was acting a bit strangely. Went over to check, and she was keeping her left eye closed. I picked her up and had a close look, but couldn’t see anything in her eye, or any signs of trauma or infection. The area around her eye was a little red, but she wasn’t trying to rub it or anything like that – just keep it closed. So I crossed my fingers and decided to see how she was in the morning. If it was just a brief bit of irritation from behaving incautiously around long grass, then she could be fine in the morning. If it was still troubling her, I’d take her in to the vet. I went to bed feeling a bit traumatised myself.

Next morning I woke up early and decided to go out and check. Hooray, everything looked absolutely fine! Both of Imogen’s eyes looked exactly the same, and perfectly normal. (Not easy to examine a squirming, hungry chicken who thinks the others are scoffing her food, but I managed.) And that’s how things with Imogen’s eye stayed – presumably she caused herself a bit of irritation, which just needed a few hours of her asleep to heal itself. Hooray!

Drama #3. Wednesday morning. I was feeling a bit paranoid, so the girls were being thoroughly scrutinized at both ends, night and morning. And whaddaya know, it’s Poppy with a slightly swollen face. She didn’t seem distressed, her breathing was fine, and everything else was normal. But the left side of her face was definitely a bit puffy. In the past with her, this has just been some sort of sinusitis, and has been pretty transient. (It’s possible that she’s allergic to something? Pollen of some sort?) We decided – you guessed it – to keep an eye on her, and see what it was like in 24 hours. If better, we’d leave her alone. If worse or the same, take her in to see Auntie Pauline or Auntie Susan. Somehow it didn’t seem likely that we would escape the need for a vet visit three times in one week.

And indeed, it had become slightly more puffy by Thursday midday, so we made an appointment to see Pauline on Friday morning. Here we go again …

Long story short – she’s fine. Pauline couldn’t see anything to worry about, and sent us home with a stonking supply of antibiotics and the instruction to bring her back if there wasn’t improvement within four days, and to make sure we kept her on antibiotics for a good two days after the symptoms had disappeared. As of this evening, the swelling is pretty much gone – if you knew to look for it, you might be able to convince yourself that there was something there, but that’s about it. She’s become cunning about the tablets, but fortunately I have seen the size of the things she eats voluntarily, and I have no qualms whatsoever about wrapping the tablet in just enough mince to help it slide down, and pushing it down her throat myself.

I really really hope this is the end of our dramas for a while. Three in one week … not nice. (Although I’ll take a dozen minor scares over one emergency any day.)

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