We lost two of our hens this week, two days apart.
was sheer coincidence that they both fell ill at the same time, with
two seperate problems. Usually we can dampen or even cure most chicken
ailments with our arsenal of preparations, books and online help from
friends. This time we knew it was time to take them to the vet, so we
It wasn't good news.
Helen had Proventriculitis.
It's an inflammation or blockage of the proventriculus (stomach) of a
bird. Sometimes you can nail down a cause such as an obvious blockage
or a mycotoxin, but usually it's cause is a frustrating mystery; which
was true in Helens' case. She got sick and died within two days, and
the vet told us surgery was not an option, just to take her home and
make her comfortable. He gave us meds to try just in case, he's a
softie when it comes to chickens. Helen was the only daughter of Jack,
our beloved Barred Rock rooster of many years. She was a very calm girl
except at feeding time, when she would YELL. She has a brother,
Phoenix, who is currently our Head Rooster.
The other hen was
Cutie. Cutie was so named because she habitually would look up at you
with a cute little tilt to her head, as in her picture. Cutie
contracted a fungal condition known as Favus, which caused her face to
start peeling. It was several days before we could nail down what was
going on, but both Cutie and Helen were given antibiotics and an
antifungal from the vet. Despite our dosing them and handfeeding them
every 30 minutes, Helen died on Friday and Cutie died last night. The
were hatchmates, we hatched them in 2003.
I love having the
chickens, but it is so hard when they die. It's especially worrisome to
have two seemingly healthy birds go so quickly, and have to now worry
about the others.