17 June, 2012

Hey, if you didn't know, I'm a vet

Well, Mike is the main vet (in either sense of the word). Either something obviously needs to be done & we tackle it together or I think it does & enlist his assistance. Which generally ends up me holding the critter while he works. Some of these are old; keeping newborn kids warm on a chilly morning:

Managing reproductive health & learning the best ways & times to do that (unhappily) through trial & error.

A traumatic chick hood. 6 eggs were rejected by our Buff & I put them under another broody hen that wouldn't stop sitting. When they began to hatch 3 days later she pecked 2 to death in mid hatch. I removed the rest to this box on a heating pad under a Tupperware container as soon as they started to pip through. 1 had spraddled legs & didn't make it but the other 3 were fine.
Victor took really good care of them & they lived in his room for 3 weeks. We put them in an outside chick nursery where they stayed happily for 3 days when a rat tunneled through the ground & eviscerated & mauled one of the black ones. We freaked out, kicked a mother & her older clutch into the main coop & moved the 2 remaining chicks into the much sturdier packing crate nursery w/ the wooden floor  & cinder block door. They stayed happily there for 2 days & the rat somehow got in again & killed the white one. So now there is only 1 all alone w/out friends & trying mightily to make us his flock, climbing on our boots & fluttering up to our shoulders & riding around w/ us as we walk the property. He is back in the box at night in Victor's room at night & I don't know how this is going to play out. We don't want a pet chicken.

Chicks do need a mother to clean them & show them the proper food. These little chicks ate whatever was placed in front of them & that didn't always agree w/ their little systems & not infrequently ended up w/ a pasted vent. Their poo just glues itself over their vent & they can't eliminate, building up toxicities. Life is graphic around here, lots of  matings, violent endings from predators, occasional cannibalism, bloody surgeries, etc. so I don't apologize for the following pictures.

A pasted vent.

The remedy is to leave a warm wet baby washcloth on the back end & gently (GENTLY!) remove the paste, pulling out as little down as possible & adjust your feed. Our chicks ( & sick chickens) get fed a mixture of cracked wheat, pounded rolled oats, corn masa, snipped up greens, apple sauce & whey.

Buford we think sustained a severe sprain. We assume he got a hoof caught in the pallet, he was off of it for 3 whole weeks. I had to keep his dam in the stanchion for nursing because she wouldn't let him. Mike did the splint up job while I held him, an ace bandage & 100 mph tape were our supplies. However he seemed in more pain than before so we cut it off after an hour.

This is Pillow, our other fox attack victim. Being very ugly to begin w/ for a chicken, after the vixen  we just though it was even uglier then ever. It's part Silkie & that breed has domed heads & leg feathers. They look like muppets. But this one had bulging eyes & I had never seen a bulgy eyed chicken before. I persuaded Mike that it was full of edema & it was imperative that we drain it before it swelled itself to death. Mike wasn't happy, after working all day to drain a chicken w/ me but he actually did the job himself & had me hold the chick. I had found the largest sewing needle in my stash & drenched it in iodine. I held the poult but it didn't feel right; this was confirmed after Mike poked the needle through the skin around the shoulder & no fluid was forthcoming. Instead it began to deflate.

Mike was disgusted & resigned himself to never being surprised by anything a chicken ever did again. After he had said this a Buff walked by w/ a dismembered wing from somewhere & swallowed it whole, feathers & all. Mike went in for a drink. Poor Pillow had the poultry equivalent of a sucking chest wound. I went inside to google "air filled chicken". Their skin is not attached to the muscle & there are several airsacs that help to accomplish a number of useful avian purposes. This scientist explains Air Sacculitis better than I can. However, the little chick died. It's head was missing in the morning & I suspect the rat family is extracting vengeance for shooting its patriarch & removing the sweet feed to a more secure location. Now that the rats are thin they are very much faster.

That about covers it. Diarrhea is an occasional goat problem depending on what they eat. They love Pepto Bismol, just double the human dosage according to weight. Tylenol too after a surgery or injury.

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