Yellow Chicken House

Chicken Keeping – The good, the bad and the egg-ly!

Sneezing and wheezing- not a good sign…

on June 17, 2013

Let me begin with the good news. My newly acquired replacement warren did not try to kill her new housemates. In fact, newbie warren even gave me my first egg on her first day in Yellow Chicken House and I was like an over-excited child.

20130721-211047.jpg

My happy face says it all. It was just after the laying of the egg that I heard a tiny sneeze from newbie warren. And then another a little later. I thought nothing of it. It was just a sneeze.

Day two in the yellow chicken house, and the sneezing began to happen a little more often. I continued to ignore the increasing sneeze and wheezing. So here comes the bad news…

The sneezing progressed into a collection of unpleasant symptoms; wheezing, gurgling, lethargy, and most worryingly, bubbling from the eyes! Can honestly say I’ve never seen bubbles and foam pouring out of an animals eyes. Once again, my Disney movie perception of keeping chickens was being challenged. The Speckledy and the warren formerly known as the victim seemed to have formed a close bond but were acting as if the newbie warren didn’t exist. They simply were not acknowledging her presence. The newbie warren had taken to spending extended periods of time sitting on her own, tail feathers drooping, breathing heavily and closing her eyes frequently.

chicken illness, poorly chicken, ill chicken

Poorly girl

After 3-4 days of this behaviour, as I was sitting in the garden with Martin enjoying a glass of wine, little newbie warren approached us inquisitively. She hopped up onto the seat of the picnic bench then up onto the table.

Chicken on table, tame chicken, friendly chicken

Chicken and wine, my two favourite things

Newbie warren wandered over to me and hopped onto my lap. I scooped her up and stroked her for a bit, wondering what had brought on this sudden unexpected display of affection. She then began to breathe heavily, making a rattling noise in her throat and drooping her head to rest on my arm. At this point, I began to panic a bit. What should I do in this situation, I thought. Clearly I have an ill chicken but what can I do to make her feel better? Luckily the neighbours were not around to see what I actually did, which was to sing Jason Mraz ‘I Won’t Give Up’ whilst stroking and rocking the chicken in my arms. After the second verse, newbie warren went limp in my arms and drooped her head. At this point I began to panic. She’s dead I thought. What do I do? She then jerked her head up and I breathed a sigh of relief. She then began having some kind of coughing fit. I put her down on the table and watched as she frantically shook her head, coughing and gasping for air. Then her eyes began to bubble and foam. At this point, Martin pottered into the garden:

Me: “Martin? Is this normal?”

Martin: *Clearly not paying attention. “Yeah”

Me: “Her eyes are bubbling, I’ve never seen that…”

Martin: “What?!”

Me: “What should I do?”

Martin: “Call John.”

Typical direct Martin. But as usual, he was right. So I made another phone call to John at Camddwr Poultry who was once again lovely and reassuring. I described the chicken’s symptoms and after talking through my options, he gave me some great advice and some medicine to give my little newbie warren a fighting chance. Three days later and here is the result:

Happy chicken, recovered chicken,

“I won’t give up…”

A couple of days after her brush with death, newbie’s housemates suddenly began to act differently. It was like they were seeing her for the first time. Harmony was restored and I have John  (and Jason Mraz) to thank! 😉

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