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Friday, April 13, 2012

Sick Chick (en)

Two weeks ago we went to Urban Farm Store and picked up two pullets. These are hens who are not laying yet, have feathers, but won't lay eggs until mid-summer.

The kids chose a Rhode Island Red (the red one) and a Cuckoo Maran. The Maran is also known as a "chocolate egger" because her eggs will be a dark dark brown.

Delia was to the moon excited about the new ladies and spent at least an hour a day in the chicken pen hanging out with her friends. Until last Saturday.

Irene, who is one of our original ladies from three years ago (we raised her from a chick), had bubbles coming out of her eye.
Here is Irene with my nephew Hudson:

I immediately went to the Internet and began researching. I found several possible diagnosis...none of them good. I quickly ran to the farm store (the day before I had become Mayor using Foursquare...I am there that often) and picked up some antibiotics.
I still didn't know what was wrong, but I knew I had to separate the chickens and antibiotics would be a good preventative measure for ALL the ladies.
After a good hour of cleaning out the main enclosure area and making a makeshift coop for the affected girl I was done. My hope is we could prevent the other chickens from contracting whatever it was Irene had. The next day she looked better, the next day she looked worse etc. My other chickens look fine. I am sad to see Irene alone. She so badly wants to be with her coop mates, but we can't risk it. We are trying to be extra nice to her, but it is hard. Hopefully she will kick this "cold". Delia is sad because she can't hang out with the chickens. I am afraid she will help to spread the sickness.
To top it off for the first time in three years we are also seeing direct evidence of RATS. I know we have had them before (coops and rats go hand in hand), but this year I have actually seen the rats on more than one occasion. They are a brazen family. So far we have killed five. They are getting a little smarter and we haven't had a kill in a week, but this weekend we up the ante.
The ladies are back to being "cooped up" because of this:

I had just cleaned this bed and cleared the brick wall. An hour later the ladies left me with this mess.

I am excited that the weather here in Oregon is finally looking better. Here are some shots I took this week:

I have cleaned some beds, but have a LONG way to go. Those darn chickens are taking up my time.


  1. Oh, I hope Irene survives! They can go down so quickly that you are hardly aware they are sick before it gets really bad. Remind me to not attempt brick lined, raised beds with my chickens. lol ~ Maureen

    1. Irene seems to be doing well. After a week on antibiotics and being secluded from the other chickens her eyes are clean and she is back to her old self. The other chickens seem to have fought whatever Irene had off. I am happy to report we are all back to normal...now to solve the problem of rats.