Saturday, 20 October 2012

Poorly Hattie.

Hattie had been fine in the week since we bought her, a picture of chocolate health. Then I noticed she was squinting with her left eye.  I thought maybe one of the others had landed a well aimed peck, or she had something in her eye.   A check showed nothing, maybe something had been in there but had gone and leaving it feeling a bit sore.

The next day it was more closed than squinting.  No swelling, redness, no pus nothing, just the half closed eye. I couldn't think of any reason for it, so we went to the vets.

Hattie was a very good traveller, not too much fussing at all, just some enquiring clucks as to where we were and peering out of the door.  The vet gave Hattie a shot of all-round antibiotics as her temperature was slightly up and also to deal with the possibility of a respiratory infection, as eye problems can be linked to that.  We set off home with another appointment booked for a second shot in 4 days.

She didn't improve.  We went back for the second shot and after that she just seemed to slowly get worse.  She was withdrawn and sad and had moved onto scratching at her face.  So we went back again.
The vet was very good, chickens are always treated with as much importance as a dog or cat at our surgery and this particular vet has chickens of his own. 

We discussed what had happened since our last visit, and he decided to take a skin scraping.  He appeared two minutes later carrying a microscope, skin mites!   A definite cause for irritation of the face, scratching and general miserableness.  He administered a drop-on mite killer on the back of her neck and gave me a second and third dose to be given in 10 days and then 10 days after that.

Off home we went again, hoping this was it.  

But no, Hattie continued to get worse.  I could no longer leave her outside with the other girls as they pecked at her a little as she was still the 'new gal' but she no longer had the energy to move away.  She sat, feathers fluffed, under the hydrangea.

Both eyes were having trouble staying open and now it seemed she was having trouble eating.  Food would hang out of the left side of her mouth and she simply did not realise it was there. Her poop had changed, it was watery and green, a sign that bile was building up as she was not getting enough food through her system. 

There was no shadow following me into the kitchen for treats, just a sad and dejected fluff of feathers sat in the living room.  When she moved it was with weakened, uncertain steps.  I was desperately worried we were losing her.

We went back to the vet, Hattie just slept in her basket.

The vet was sad to see us, he was despairing over what was wrong with her. A stroke?  Allergic reaction to the drop on?  He'd tried everything he could think of.  

We had the talk,you know the one, the one no pet owner wants to have.  I assured him if I thought her suffering too much, I would do the right thing but that time was not yet.

He said he would be willing to refer me to a specialist Avian Vet, it would be very expensive but before he did, he had one last idea, his very last.  Steroids.

I was willing to try anything.  So Hattie had her shot of steroids.  It can produce miraculous results, or it can produce nothing.  He didn't know which it would be but with a 50/50 chance, it was worth a shot.  We left with the instruction to ring and let him know how she was two days later.

Cuddles for a poorly gal

And here we are, two days later and I have rung the vet and told him she is showing signs of feeling better.  

Not recovered, no, but better.  She is more active, following me into the kitchen for treats and managing to eat some.  More wandering around, less sleeping fluff ball.  She has even been in the garden with the girls and tried to dust bath.  She has missed that, I know as she tried to dust bathe in the rug.  She's not strong enough to roll and throw mud on herself but the cool mud between her toes feels good.

Hattie in the kitchen, waiting for treats
I don't know what is wrong and neither does my vet.  No amount of searching on the internet offered any suggestions for her ailments.  Another visit to the vet is in order and maybe another lot of steroids.

I just have my fingers and toes crossed she keeps improving x



  1. Aw! Poor Hattie!! I hope she continues to get better for you. Sick chickens are no fun.

    1. Thank you :) xxx No they are not, they are a constant worry, gaahhh!

  2. wow, you are taking really good care of her! We have had a few that look bad like that at different times. Sorry to say that none have been taken the vet and most have ended up dead. Only thing I can think of to help her is make sure she's getting lots of green vegs, and herbs like comfrey. Also apple cider vinegar in her water. Good luck! She deserves to live after all the work you've put in!

    1. Thank for the tips Liz, very much appreciated, as are the good luck wishes :) She is looking perkier each day, so here's hoping!xxxxx

  3. Oh poor Hattie. I hope she is on the mend soon. Nothing worse than a poor sick girl and not knowing what is wrong. I'll keep my fingers crossed. You are such a good mom. Take care.

    1. I know Joan, it's such a worry, they are naughty! Thank you, and you too xxxxxxx

  4. Oh no, I'm so sorry about Hattie! I had a chicken keep one of her eyes closed and her head down for a few days, but then she recovered. In her case I think she was pecked in the eye, but poor Hattie's case isn't as simple. Wishing her all the best!

    1. That's what I thought had happened to Hattie, but sadly not :( Thank you ever so much for the wishes xxxx

  5. :( Poor girl- Hope she's feeling back to her old self soon!

    1. Thank Lynn, I hope so too! Fingers crossed, she seems to be on the mend! :D

  6. I would like to invite you to join me at the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!

    I hope you can make it!
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick