Holly’s turn to meet Auntie Pauline

August 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

Holly, experiencing Doubt, July 2011Oh  lord, Holly has been in the wars. It’s a horrible saga.  And I have to warn those of you with delicate sensibilities that this post scores fairly high on the ewwwww factor.

Holly had a massive prolapse on Monday (the 25th)  – at least as bad as Sasha’s. I saw it within a matter of an hour or so of it happening, but there was still loads of damage – because of her dropped bum, everything dragged. Through dirt, sawdust, chaff and shit. And yes, it was as bad as it sounds. Red raw, with muck and blood, and Holly attempting to turn herself inside out with pushing.

We got her in to the vets the next morning, and Pauline was horrified. Enough so that she made me promise that if I ever had another hen with a prolapse that I wouldn’t wait for an appointment, but bring them straight in. It really was bad. But with a lot of effort, two vet nurses, heaps of water and me holding Holly on her back with her legs up in the air at a 45˚ angle, everything was cleaned, ointmented and reinserted. This time Pauline actually sewed her cloaca up, leaving a small (very small) aperture for poo, but (hopefully) not enough room for her to push through again. Poor girl, it was about as undignified as it gets. But it was done, and I took her home with antibiotics, ointment, and instructions to keep her inside on towels for a week, and bring her back after seven days or so to have the stitches taken out (if I didn’t feel like doing them myself).

Holly, 13 November 2013

Nice plan.

Didn’t work.

Holly was straining and straining the whole time I was driving her home. Not unusual. And usually not a problem, once stitched up. But she is a strong girl, and by the time I got her home, set up the hospital cage and lifted her out again, she had torn the stitches through completely, and prolapsed again. To add to the chaos, she’d also laid a membrane-only egg. So I packed her up again, phoned the vets to warn them, and got back in the car.

Take two.

Holly, 26 January 2012This time, Pauline used a couple of trouser buttons (I don’t want to know where she got them) to spread the pressure of the stitches over a wider area. We also gave her a sort of corset bandage around her bum, with gauze padding and vetwrap to keep gentle upward pressure on her undercarriage – hopefully the general pressure would discourage her from straining. (And yep, it did seem to work!) We discussed what might happen if Holly tried to lay another egg – crossing our fingers that the membrane-only egg was the one up the spout when everything happened, and that the trauma would have stopped any others from coming down. (So to speak.) The decision was that I would cut a few stitches if absolutely necessary, but that I would then need to truss her up thoroughly again, and bring her back in for a checkup at the end of the week.

Holly, 13 Nov 2013

Holly, 13 Nov 2013

Next day, Holly seemed to be trying to lay another egg. I ummed and ahhed and phoned the vets for advice, and checked Holly again. And realised that only one of the buttons remained.

So she went in again. There were no appointments available, so this time we just dropped off, to be left until someone could have a look at her. And when I brought her home that evening, she had the third iteration of her stitches – this time Susan had used mattress stitching, with toggley things to spread the load. We were also assured that there was no egg present,and told to keep doing what we’d been doing, keeping her quiet, and to come back on Saturday (today) for a follow-up, if things behaved themselves.

And things have, finally, behaved themselves. No eggs, no ripping of stitches, no further prolapse. The stitches came out, and her muscle tone appears absolutely normal. She’s still a bit sore, and tending to droop, but that’s understandable.

I’ll be nervous any time I see her near a nestbox for a while. But with luck, she’ll be ok from here.

Just don’t show her any buttons.

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