Hello my friends! I realize I’ve totally been MIA for the past few months. It’s hard to keep up with everything! With a lot of changes going on, I figured it was time for another chicken update.
We’ll start with Luna. Luna-belle. Luna-cake. Luna-wuna. Luna-baby. Chickens get all sorts of nicknames when you share a room with them for almost a month! It has been a rough road for poor little Luna. If you remember from way back in March, Luna was our littlest girl and I’m almost positive she always will be. (Oh my goodness I miss the chicky days.)
Luna was our last to start laying eggs and always the runt of the group. Starting around September, Luna started slowing down, not keeping up with the others when I let them run, and stopped laying eggs. We thought she was possibly egg bound since she wasn’t laying any eggs. Then we noticed Bonnie (her Barred Rock sister) was picking on her quite a bit. She was pecking at her constantly and wouldn’t let her get near the food. Soon, the other girls, Ginger and Biscuit, started picking on her too. And then, Luna started limping. I figured she was limping because the girls were pecking at her so much or maybe she had something caught in it. We saw nothing physically wrong with her foot on the outside, so we assumed it was something internal. The only time Luna got some peace was when we let them out to run. The 3 bad girls would go explore and Luna would lay in the grass. When we noticed that Luna was obviously not getting much food and her foot was not getting any better, we brought her inside.
Luna started eating like crazy! She was so excited to have her own food bowl and not be pushed around by the others. She also loved her own personal roosting stick. She was eating well at first but her appetite started slowly decreasing and her foot was not getting better. We removed the roost from the cage hoping she’d spend more time resting without having to put weight on her sore foot. In an effort to perk her up and help her foot, we gave her 2 warm baths with some Epsom salt. We couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her foot, but noticed some spots on her foot and wondered if she had a bacterial infection. After the baths, Luna was more relaxed and seemed to like the extra attention. We added an oral antibiotic to her water. At the same time, Luna had stopped eating and drinking. I could rub the most tasty food ever all over her beak and she wouldn’t even open her beak for a lick. We thought maybe there was a blockage in her system and she couldn’t physically eat. Due to lack of food and water, Luna slowed down tremendously. She would sleep all the time and she could not keep her eyes open! We quickly realized that she needed nutrients asap. We decided to use the syringe and give her Pedialyte multiple times a day. Thankfully, this happened during the week of Thanksgiving and I was able to be home most of the time. She still would not eat. Michael ordered another antibiotic and needles, which was our last hope for poor Luna. Thankfully, Michael gave her the first shot into her breast, because I was a chicken (ironic ) and after 8 shots within 5 days (and I did half of them myself!), Luna seems to have made a near-full recovery! The shots ended up being very difficult as Luna has practically no fat or muscle for a needle. She’s literally skin, feathers, and bones, but we managed and carefully found a safe location 8 times. For the past 3-4 days, she has been eating like a pig! She’s constantly munching on her dry food and we gave her some fruit and veggies too. She started drinking on her own too, so no more Pedialyte through a syringe! I still haven’t a clue what was/is wrong with her and we’ll probably never know. She is being extremely vocal and I know she wants to go back outside! My next dilemma is when she does go back outside (we’re still trying to fatten her up before she goes into the freezing temperatures as she is less than half the size of the other chickens) she’ll still continued to be picked on. During this whole roller coaster, Luna got to go outside a few times to get fresh air and grass. Every single time, the mean girls came right over to peck at her (even through the garden fence!). I’m worried they are going to bully her right back to sickness so I’m keeping Luna inside (and on chick food for extra fat and protein) to bulk her up and get her extra feisty. I know she’ll always be at the bottom of the pecking order, but she can’t be bullied to death!
Also, Squirt, our bad cat, absolutely loves my new roommate. She
steals shares food through the bars and even gives her loving pats slaps in the face through the cage. Best friends furever, I’d say.
And the other girls… They are doing great. They are as loud and obnoxious as ever. I read somewhere that Barred Rocks were supposed to be quiet chickens. Apparently they never met our Bonnie. They have some kind of 6th sense and can tell when someone opens the front/back door of our house. They start clucking/screaming to be let out even when no one is in sight! They still absolutely love to roam the yard. Biscuit has eaten numerous frogs and lizards WHOLE. She’s still our hunter. Bonnie, she’s still the boss and flips out when the other girls leave her behind. Ginger is my sweetie, well next to Luna. Luna gets priority since she lives with me. Unfortunately, now that our days are shorter, the girls get much less time outside. By the time I get home from school or work, it’s dark already. They also lay less eggs because of the short days and cold weather. In the summer, they were laying about 6 days of the week. They just skip a day here and there. Now, they skip many more days and the egg count is very scattered. Sometimes we only get 1 eggs, sometimes 2, and sometimes 3. I can’t wait until this Spring when they’ll start laying more and hopefully Luna will join in soon! Oh, and I might be bringing new babies into the coop too
So there you go! Another look into my crazy life.
And before I get the comments, let me just put out a disclosure that Michael and I are not chicken doctors, I do not recommend you keep a chicken in your room and do everything we did, I know that there are some veterinarians that’ll take chickens, I know that it’s *just* a chicken and could be dinner (seriously don’t eat a sick chicken though), but we are just doing the best that we could do to help this poor, little, young chicken that really just needed help. If you have any questions about a sick chicken, I recommend you find a reputable source for your information. If you’re considering getting chickens, remember that they do get sick and hurt and you must make the right decisions for yourself as a responsible pet owner.