I set her on her Tupperware with a view, and she stood there looking like she’s one-legged. She demolished her food – chicken food and long grain brown rice- a big hit. She even sampled the potted plant mix.She ate so much rice she passed over her seeds. Outside, the grosbeaks are congregating in the snow.She made an unholy mess of the windowsill, but I was just so happy she was eating. Nothing that won’t clean up in seconds.I’m so glad she’s diversified from a two-item diet, and the force-feeding is over. She ate and ate, I refilled her rice several times, and then… a nap. Yeah, I bet you’re tired.
Cheeks is making a comeback. I got her antibiotics and baby aspirin last week and started the daily regime of shoving them down her beak.
I was hoping I wouldn’t have to force feed her, so I tried everything to entice her to eat on her own, hoping her appetite would improve when the infection in her foot was controlled – kale, spinach, quinoa, beef fat, oatmeal, rice, coconut oil, raw egg, cooked almonds, cheese, cream – all things a well chicken would go crazy over. Rather surprisingly, the only thing she would eat on her own was roasted unsalted sunflower seeds (and later, pie crust).
Force feeding it was, unfortunately. I whipped up a blend of oatmeal, raw egg, and fruit juice. I thus serendipitously nailed the recipe for replica vomit. Should you ever need such a thing, you’re welcome.
For a couple of days, I held her on my lap morning and night, her head in one hand, forcing her beak open like a baby bird, and squirted in the mock vomit. She’d cough, sneeze, struggle, and shake her head, spraying me with it with every move, but it got in her. Then I’d hold her and coax her to drink water, and offer some sunflower seeds. I’d hold her some more and we’d birdwatch and I’d work some with her on my lap. That’s how we discovered that she’d also enthusiastically eat pie crust. Not the pie (pumpkin)- just the crust.
The force feeding seems to have worked, though, as her energy and attitude are up.
You can see her amputated middle toe.
I took to setting her on top of a Rubbermaid where she could see outside for bit after breakfast (while I wiped down myself and surroundings and cleaned her box). She seemed pleased, ate sunflower seeds off the windowsill, and yesterday stood for quite a while on one foot giving herself a good going over, combing all her feathers. She’s grown back in well after molting. When she seemed tired I put her back in her banana box where she had a long nap and she was lively again around lunch time. She was also energetically scritching around in her box last night, and ate a tiny bit of chicken feed – a promising development.
It’s that time of year. The geese are back, and the robins. A little in advance of the retreat of snow.The so-called ailing chicken is quite lively, considering her posture problems. She clambered into the nesting box today, and eats with an appetite. She just needs delivery. I have to monitor her meal time, too, because other hens come nosing around. Whatcha got? Nosy little Perchick is convinced something’s going on there. I hear munching.
I have another chicken kicking the bucket. A few have died this winter, from the crew of clipped beaks that we got our first year, so they’re all the same age, about 5 years old. I’m glad, in a way, that they don’t live forever, but on the other hand it’s a little bit weird that they’re dropping like they’ve hit an expiry date. My favorite hen (ok, one of) is from this batch, so I’m not looking forward to losing her. She’s sweet.This hen showed lethargy for a couple days and then yesterday did not leave the coop. In the morning she looked so nearly dead that I thought she’d be gone in minutes, but in the afternoon I got surprised. She’d improved and was alert enough to look at me and accept some water. So she was only mostly dead. She also found an egg to steal and sit on. Very odd.
And she’s hung on overnight too, still with us. She doesn’t look good, but I’ve been wrong before. I’m giving her vitamins and water, just in case it’s not her time yet.