Sunday, September 5, 2010

A pox

Yesterday I was in the hen house, swapping out the coastal (hay) in the boxes & rearranging the furnishings a bit, to liven up their little poultry lives when one of the salmon faverolles flew to the top of the rabbit hutch (former home of all the birds when they were between peeps & fullgrown, the birds injured during shipping until they died & now being used to store 3/4 bale of coastal).  She looked pretty awful, but they all have been lately.  Between the extreme heat & the reality of molting, most of them have bald faces & look a bit glazed.  This girl though. looked more than a little loopy & when I reached for her I saw why.  Her comb was covered in white nodules, some of which were bloody.  One of her eyes was completely covered & the other was barely a slit.  My chicken has a pox.

I am lucky that I live next door to a crazy chicken lady (she lives with the crazy cat lady; they inhabit the same body) & she had some equine eye ointment that I put on the poor girl's head -after rinsing away the gnats.  That I could run water gently across her at all is a sure sign this is not a happy bird; once you have seen a healthy wet hen, "madder than a wet hen" is not something you want to get wrapped up in.  Anyway, W***** quickly identified fowl dry pox (not to be confused with chicken pox).

So the rabbit hutch is again a hospital pen & joining the first girl is one of the old lakenvelders.  Both of the old lakenvelders actually have pox, but the one in hospital also has clusters around her eyes.  The good new is this afternoon there is no question the first bird is doing much better.  The pustules are not so gross (the picture is an improvement!) & her eye looks close to opening again.  In even better news,  she has finally gotten some food.  Last night I watched her & maybe one in five passes at the food bowl resulted in her getting anything in her beak.  This meant to me her vision was not gone (I have seen blind birds eat just fine; they must be relying on another sense, probably smell); she was trying to go where her eyes said food was, just missing by an inch or so too high.

& as disgusting as this whole thing looks, there is not much I can do to prevent it.  It is almost certainly working it's way through my whole flock,others have a few bumps, but seem otherwise not bothered, one other has some suspicious comb-wound but nothing that looks like this.  My poultry keeping books tell me it has nothing to do with cleanliness & everything to do with mosquitoes.

No comments:

Post a Comment