It's been quite a week one way and another, some of it amusing but part of it very worrying.
First Fizz decided to bonk Titian while she was dozing in the dust bath. Titian's usual routine is a quick wash followed by a long sleep, as he well knew. Quite what Fizz was thinking I don't know, but he decided to mount her sideways! A novel approach, but it doesn't achieve the desired result as I've explained to him before.
Titian got her own back the next day. Fizz decided to take his biannual dust bath, which is always a long, thorough affair. Titian bided her time until Fizz was having the chicken equivalent of a long soak and a nap. Then she casually sauntered over to examine a lone surviving piece of grass growing right next to Fizz. The only way she could see it properly, of course, was to stand with one foot on Fizz's head and take a good, long look at the grass. He had the good sense not to even attempt to wriggle out from beneath Titian's dinosaur-sized tootsie. She finally got bored and moved on, much to his relief.
While all this was going on, we were getting a bit concerned about Mad Irene.
|The lovely Mad Irene|
Normally, before we open the run gate we say "Up Irene" and she jumps onto the nest box roof (which is next to the gate) if she hasn't already done so. But on Thursday, she couldn't be bothered, no matter how much we encouraged her.
When the Cluckers trooped out we noticed that Irene was rather lethargic, her eyes looked tired and her comb was paler than usual. There was a lump high in her throat, but her crop was empty. Worried that food might be impacted in her throat, we fed her some tomato and then went off to search for maggots, hoping that these two remedies for impacted crop might work for whatever was going on in Irene's throat.
Harrogate has three huntin', shootin' and fishin' emporia because it's a posh town and one has to be able to purchase one's deerstalker and shooting stick from somewhere, doesn't one. But they are far too upmarket to stock maggots. Took us a while to find an angling supplies shop that hadn't either gone out of business or turned itself into a trendy wine bar. But we finally got back to the chicken run with half a pint of the little wrigglers.
Irene ate a few, but didn't approach them with her usual "Mine, mine, mine and so are yours" attitude. In fact she was unusually quiet and subdued; she just drifted around a bit of the lawn near us. Usually she rushes about all over the place, scared she might miss something that should rightfully be hers. We gave it a while, then massaged the lump in her neck and eventually got the clump of food moved down to her crop. But then I could feel a hard, forefinger sized lump in her throat which no amount of massaging could get rid of. By now it was much too late to get to the vet. We would see how she was next morning.
Disastrous as it turned out. She wasn't too bothered about coming out of the coop, although she normally rushes out first. She was very sluggish and had no appetite. Then she did a semi-fluid poo with blood streaked starkly across the urates. We immediately made an appointment with the vet.
She was the perfect patient. She allowed a thorough examination with far more grace than we ever realised she possessed. The vet could find nothing drastically wrong and concluded that she had something going on in her digestive system. He then gave her an antibiotic injection, which she bore with great stoicism. He prescribed a course of antibiotic tablets and off we went.
I had assured the vet we'd have no problem getting tablets down Irene. Irene made no such undertaking. Consequently the next day, when we wrapped small pieces of tablet in bits of raspberry, she ate the fruit and left the tablet. We put the bits in with some corn, which she ate with relish, leaving the bits behind. We put those same bits in with a few maggots. The maggots got started on the bits - just very briefly before they were chomped up by Irene. Who left the damned bits behind. Again.
Then No. 1 Son tried smothering the bits with butter. Irene nearly took his hand off in her eagerness to get the buttery bits eaten! That evening we simply broke the large tablet in half, smothered them both in butter and they disappeared down Irene's throat so fast it made your head spin.
She rapidly improved and is back to normal now, as she proved by excavating one of her world famous "this way to Australia" holes this morning.
Oh, and that sinister finger-sized lump? That turned out to be ..... her neck bones!