Tag Archives: injured

Then there were eight – nine

Last night when I yoohooed Galahad and crew in to the open greenhouse door, I was horrified.  Only eight keets came with him!  He did his doorway pause, and satisfied, he went in and they proceeded to shuttle up to their perch.  But!  You’re missing two!  Where are they?!

A white and a grey one were missing.  I came upon the grey one hunched in the weeds nearby.  Immediately I knew he was hurt, and when I tried to coach him to the door, he demonstrated a limp on the right side, and more alarmingly, deliberately avoided the greenhouse door, instead fleeing from me and then settling down in a hen tent.  Alright, I thought, I’ll get him from there later when the sun goes down.  Guineas are super dopey after dark.

That’s terrible!  They were doing so well, how can two be lost in one day?  At least this one with the lower body injury can be saved.  I just need to get him inside and into rehab.  It’s been awhile since there’s been a rehab bird in the house.

After dark, no guinea!  Gone.  I flashlight searched for quite a while.  Vanished.  That’s it for him, I thought.  A raccoon showed up two days ago.  I hoped to maybe see him come out of the woods in the morning.

This morning, no keet.  This afternoon, no keet.  Now there is a family of Galahad +8.  No keet all day.

Until close up time!  There he was, hunched near the healthy flock.I got the bird catching hoop net and pursued. He was limping even harder than the previous day, but still gave me a good chase, and the rest witnessed up close the whole capture and disentangling and removal, so I wasn’t sure Galahad would ever trust me again, but so far so good.

I carried the hurt keet home and stuck his head in a hat, so I could inspect his injury.  He laid there perfectly still for a long and thorough palpating, and continued to lay there long past the inspection.  I just live in this hat now.

I couldn’t find anything wrong!  No bone breaks or skin breaks – it’s a mystery.  But perhaps, like Sprout, it will show up later with swelling.

Now the keet is in an Ikea EKET organizational solution (lidded felt box), sans hat, with victuals and electrolytes.   Finally silent after mounting a thumping, pecking, escape attempt.  I know, it’s super weird to be in a box in the house, and guineas really really hate being contained in anything, but it’s for your own good!  Drink your aspirin water!

Auntie Apples- the end of the house chicken era

The little crippled chick was feeling much better today.  She started the day with some demanding chirps, so I tucked her in with HW, which always makes chicks happy.  After a cozy nap, she got restless and I put her back in her box.  I desperately needed more sleep.  We had a big driving day and it’s not good waking up feeling nauseously sleep deprived.

But she wasn’t having the box.  Cheep!  Cheep!  CHEEP!  CHEEP!  CHEEPCHEEPCHEEPCHEEPCHEEPCHEEP!  Chicks are loud.  Arrgh.  I shuffled downstairs, wrapped her in my t-shirt, and tried to go back to sleep with her tucked in against me.  But she was over resting, and feeling rather active.  I rested yesterday! Wriggling, squirming, clambering, and tiny little talons were interrupting my sleep.

Frustrated, I took her back down, and set her in the front of Apples’ box.  Maybe Apples can chicksit.  Ok, I’m glad you’re feeling so much better, but I really need you to shut up!  Apples flinched away, staring sideon, like a fencer en gard.  What is that!?    The chick turned its head, and Apples leapt out the back of her box squawking, like a lady jumping on a chair because of a mouse.  She climbed onto my hand  and I lowered her down to her newspaper, eye level with the chick in her box.  (Are you scared of that little chick?) I left them staring at each other and returned to passing out for a couple more hours.

When I woke up, both of them were hanging out in the mud room on the mat, cleaning their feathers together.  They had been roaming all over the house together, the way Apples almost never does on her own.   She was obviously showing off, now she had someone to show things too.  Here’s where I clean my beak on the mat.  This is the boot tray, it’s nicely sheltered under this shelf.  There might be crumbs under the cutting board.  It was adorable for about a minute.  Poop everywhere.

The chick seems like a slightly rude or presumptuous unexpected guest, making itself at home in her box, demanding to be snuggled, but they seemed immediately attached. She can’t get around very far or fast, and Apples doesn’t, so they are perfectly matched.  The chick is hopping around on one leg, holding up the broken one, but seems to have no shortage of energy nor to be in pain anymore.  When the one leg gets tired it flops down and has an active rest- feather cleaning, or eating, if resting near the bowl.  Her leg is blue and I want to unwrap to check it for circulation but think it’s more important to be immobilized long enough to knit- leave the cast on.

I walled them up in the traditional box/newspaper area, but it was clear, they were explorers now, and a tea towel would pose little barrier.  Chick on hay in a box, Silkie hen in foregroundMovin’ out!

I set them up in a chickery outside on the short clover.  View from above of chick, hen, and a box of hay on clover Right next to Cream Puff the Fierce, for role modeling.

floor space under windows and plants
The end of an era. No more house chicken box

This is going to solve everything.  The injured chick has a support staff, and Apples has a companion, and they will transition to outdoor community life together.  Apples should start laying eggs soon or go broody, but for now, she’s an adopted Auntie!

chick under Silkie hen Apples in a cardboard box
How I found them at bedtime.  Happy chick.

Limpy

I have a handicapped chicken.  I’ve no idea what’s wrong with her, but her right leg doesn’t support her weight.  She hops and tries to step on her right leg but it collapses under her.  I’ve grabbed her for inspection, and she happily hangs out in the football hold while I inspect her leg.  I’ve gone all over her foot for slivers, and massaged all up her leg, but she doesn’t ever flinch, just sternly watches me palpating her stuck-out leg.

The first couple days she stayed in or right next to the coop, and then she roamed a little farther, but not all the way to our house like the flock goes every day.  She seems to not want to get too far from the coop. I’ve had to put bowls of water in the woods in her range.  It’s tricky to leave food out where she will find it before all the other chickens do.

She doesn’t seem to be in any pain, but she’s obviously limited and subdued.  She’s got that injured animal wariness, hiding herself in the brush.  It’s a mystery what is going on for her if there’s nothing she winces at, but she can’t walk on it.

—-

I had another chicken die.  No known cause, but she was an old chicken, one of the original set.  I was getting eggs out of the coop and she was in there, and she didn’t skedaddle indignantly like they usually do.  I moved her aside, and she settled down like she was going to rest a bit more.

I checked on her a little later and she was still there.  I stroked her head and back (a dead giveaway that she wasn’t feeling well).  Her upside down lids closed and she fell asleep while I pet her.

I checked on her in an hour and she had tucked her head under her wing and died:(

It’s practically a bird hospital around here.

We have another bird in a box.  The first box bird was a few weeks ago.

This one did not hit a window.  I was riding my bike home, two panniers heavily laden with cucumbers, when I overtook a bird limping and flapping along at the edge of the asphalt.

It was a little mourning dove.  Familiar to me; I’m used to seeing a pair of doves at this spot on the road.

She let me pick her up without setting my bike down.  Good thing, because it would be tough to lift up a loaded bike with one hand.

Her wing was almost detached, held on by the skin, with a little break in the skin on the wing, and her underside was bloody on the same side as injured wing and limpy leg.  This bird was hit by a car.

So there I was, a bird in the hand, scorching hot day, heavy bicycle, a kilometer from home.  What to do?

I rode home one handed, with the bird in the other hand.  I sort of displayed her in front of me, somehow hoping that a passing driver would stop and offer assistance.  Is that a bird?  Can I help?

In fact, even the couple that pulled over to take a snapshot of our local pastoral beauty, while I was standing right there on the other shoulder, did not even register the bird in my hand.

The bird sat peacefully folded in my hand the whole way home, facing interestedly into the wind. It must have been similar to flying for her.  Nothing new here.

Once I had to signal a left turn and letting go with either hand was not an option.  Uhh, what do do here?  Gesture with the bird.  No flipping.  That was the only time she wiggled a little, when I waved her out in space to point at my turn.

Phew!  Made it home.  Bird into box.

I was fully expecting her not to make it through the night.  I assumed I had picked her up right after her accident and that she may any minute succumb to internal injuries.

But no, in the morning she was alert, even made a couple bids for escape, although she could not be interested in food.

A friend picked her up to put her on the Hope for Wildlife underground railroad.  That is, connect her to the network of volunteer drivers of injured wildlife.

I don’t expect this bird could be saved with a wing injury that bad, but at least she got to the hospital.

 

Jailbird

We have a bird in a box! A little sparrow in a shoebox, for three days. On Saturday I was shocked awake by a bird smashing into a window with the force of a snowball.  It was sickening. It doesn’t feel good building in the woods and then installing a bunch of windows that birds don’t understand and will slam themselves against.  I’ve hung strings on most of the windows to help them see it, and it helps greatly.  We have only had one bird casualty, and one chickadee that got its bell rung but recovered. This bird hit the only window without strings:(  I ran outside and found the bird gasping and quivering on its back, scooped it up, and took it in, holding it for several minutes, with my whole hand wrapped in a towel for dark, soothing. When the bird started to perk up, aka try to escape, I took it outside and held it up to a branch.  It seemed just fine, standing up on my hand, and it stepped confidently onto the branch, spread its wings after a moment, and jumped off to plummet straight to the ground. Then I had to recapture it, as it scampered away in the underbrush. Gravely inform HW we now have a pet sparrow.  Quickly google what sparrows eat, rescue sparrows, etc.  Create a habitat shoebox. 2015-07-04 08.34.39This is a young adult sparrow.  It has vestiges of the clown lips that baby birds have (called gape flanges), and on the first day it would sometimes do the “feed me!” squat and gape when I was feeding it. It’s fully feathered, though, and had full capability of flying, before hitting the window.*  Now its right wing droops; the tips no longer meet over the tail where the wing should rest. In fact, it drags under his tail and sometimes he poops on the wing tip. *This is important because lots of fledglings get “rescued” because they can’t fly.  They can’t fly because they’re learning how. Right away, we found instructions to immobilize the wing in position of rest.  So together we held the bird and wrapped its tiny body, with the kind of medical tape that only sticks to itself, trying to leave its other wing free and legs free so it can stand up. Well, the bird lay there panting like it was gasping its last, flopping pathetically and apparently unable to stand.  After an hour or so, I was convinced that it was dying of internal injuries.  Although it was wrapped barely tight enough to hold the wing, I thought if the bird’s gonna die anyway, then at least I can take the wrap off him. I took the tape off and the bird immediately affected a miraculous recovery.  Hopping around, exploring the box, breathing normally.  Later, Hope would say sometimes you can wrap a bird, but “Birds hate to be wrapped.”  No kidding. So cute!  I fed and watered him with a popsicle stick.  The first day, I gave him flax seeds and sunflower seeds.  Nothing.  I offered a worm (alive).   The worm inquisitively poked her in the face, and got  no response.  Ants?  No way.  A mosquito? Why yes!  Hmm, I could spend all day mosquito hunting.  I gave her quinoa, because we had some cooked, and she gobbled it up.  Also quickly proved that beak wiping is a universal bird thing.  Then I ground up the flax and sun seeds with mortar and pestle and mixed it with the quinoa.  We have a winner. 2015-07-05 12.51.11 Every hour or two I would come back to the house and feed the bird.  Very time consuming, holding the popsicle stick while the bird picked and chewed one grain at a time.  I can see how baby bird care is a full time job, running the parents ragged. The first day, the bird seemed fine, not in pain at all or bothered by the wing, shaking it once in awhile.  Also content.  I covered the box in the early evening, and it fell asleep with its head tucked under the injured wing.  Adorable! 2015-07-04 19.21.02 The next day, there was no more crouching and begging, and I saw him help himself to water out of his tiny cup!  Also, she would pick up food that she dropped.  I started leaving food on the floor of the box, and also dabbing chunks on the side of the box for him to peck off, while I got something done. I added a strawberry to the mash and got rave reviews. I gave him a whole strawberry, and he demolished it. Soon she mostly fed herself, but I still offered tidbits on the stick. The second evening, she developed a tragic obsession with escape.  He’d bump his head on the grate, peck at the wires of the grate.  Very sad.   I covered her early to calm him down. Hopefully, the energy to make jailbreak attempts is a positive sign.2015-07-05 12.47.08The third day he was even more obsessed with escape – give me liberty or give me death! (unfortunately, each means the other in this case).  She’d never say no to a mosquito, but otherwise, when offered food, she’d kind of attack it momentarily,  like hunger itself was an irritating distraction, and then resume craning her neck at the grill ceiling. In the evening  we packed her off to Hope for Wildlife.  We passed her over to a volunteer animal delivery driver (!), to go to the animal hospital, and get a bird Xray (!), and hopefully rehabilitation. I had no idea something so awesome as Hope for Wildlife was here, in Nova Scotia, and on tv.  I’m more impressed with this province all the time.  The same day as calling Hope, my bird issue was “dispatched” and someone living near me called to arrange a pick-up and transportation (!) FOOD: The suggestion to feed a wild bird cat food is almost universal (high protein meat based).  I thought about it, but most cat foods I wouldn’t feed to a cat I liked, so I decided I’d dig up worms if I had to.  Luckily, I didn’t have to, because worms went over like a lead balloon.  The live offering was a complete fail, so I minced one. Let me tell you, mincing an earthworm is one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever done.  First I dug, and picked out an inch of worm that was severed by the shovel’s slice.  Perfect, I thought, already dead.  Only the pieces of worm that have the smooth ring that holds their DNA can survive being cut.  Right?  Not necessarily so.  Every piece I cut, no matter how small, writhed and contracted and to all appearances, experienced pain and tried to escape it.  Not to mention excreted mud.  Uggghhh-willies!  They only stopped moving when they dried out a bit.  Death, finally, by dehydration.  Thinking about the circle of life and how everything I thought I knew about earthworms may be wrong, I managed to complete the mincing of that one segment of worm that may or may not have been doomed anyway. The bird ate it, but preferred quinoa, so I stuck with that.  Earthworms are manna for baby birds, but not such a big diet item for adult birds (thankfully for me, gagging over the mincing). Here’s what I fed the bird, that it liked:** Cooked quinoa (couldn’t get enough) Boiled egg, finely minced. Ground flax seed Ground sunflower seed (hulled) Hemp hearts Strawberries (big hit!) Mosquitoes A few  cereal and bread crumbs Some soaked, top-quality high protein dog food (for high performance dogs), that we had (because we have a high-performance dog)  It snacked on the dog food, but did not love it. **As Hope told me on the phone, birds need a big variety- they need protein, fruit, vegetables, grains, and seeds.  If I had the bird longer, I would have tried adding garden greens, meat, beef suet, cereal, and nuts.  And they need it all minced very small, at least the young adult bird I had did.  It would reject any chunks too big to chew, including a whole flax seed. Spoggy the sparrow is a wonderful time lapse of a house sparrow hand raised from blind, pink, transparent infancy.