Chicken Therapy

Well, Bridgette’s still alive and acting fairly chickeny. She’s obviously still not herself, and she’s not laying, but she’s eating some and, though still dazed, she doesn’t seem too weak. She started a 5-day cycle of antibiotics today, so hopefully that will keep her punctures from getting mucky.

Jennifer & Tom examined her on Sunday and said keeping down the infection would be the key. The punctures are a particular problem, because you can’t pick them and drain an abscess the way you would on, say, yourself, because their skin is so delicate generally, and she lost a lot of skin in the attack.

Tom said I should probably go ahead and keep her in the basement where it’s cool and clean and safe, but he gave me the go-ahead to rotate her outside in the morning and evening coolness in her own little private pens, adjacent to but not interacting directly with the other girls.

So I made her a little pen out of cattle panel pieces, lined with chicken wire and outfitted with her own food and water and nest box. Later I added a ramp up to the nest box, because she was trying unsuccessfully to jump in, and a nice log for her to hop around on.

Bridgette's hospital courtyard

Now she can see the other chickens and get in on the group eating excitement (it’s really getting her to eat much better) without being in harm’s way.

Isolation pen

Isolation Pen

She looks really small without her tail. Buffy was a little bigger than her before, but now she looks twice her size.

From the front, she looks pretty much the same:

Morning outing


But her back end’s a mess (and this is with the grossest stuff concealed by her wing):

Poor Bridge

Her butt looks (accurately) like a plucked chicken, and there’s a big chunk of skin gone to expose what any carnivore can plainly identify as chicken meat (yuck, that part doesn’t really show up here).

Poor Bridge

Her basic routine is: get toted out to the pen from 6.30 to 7.30 or 8 am, back in for the heat of the day, then back out when the shadows get long at around 7.30 at night, until I grain the sheep (around 8.30 or so). If I wait too long, all the other girls go to bed and she paces back and forth along her shared wall, looking for an opening to magically appear so she get in and go to bed, too. So then I put her under my arm like a football and carry her back inside.

Here’s her little hospital room:

Bridgette's hospital room

Before I replace the cover (just hardware cloth over a little frame), I like to keep it off for a while because she likes to her hop up on her perch and stretch up and look around. I like to imagine her continuing chickeny curiosity is a good sign.


11 Replies to “Chicken Therapy”

  1. Aww, is that a piece of watermelon I spot in her bowl? I gave my flock-o-babies a watermelon today and it is hysterical when their heads get all sticky and then they dustbathe. (Perhaps I am a terrible chicken mom.)

    A neighbor’s dog attacked our flock a few months ago and we had some similar chicken injuries. Our birds healed fine, and I hope yours does as well!

  2. i love that last pic too! i’m keeping you guys in my thoughts and hope the antibiotics help her wounds heal quickly! Say NO to Infection!! :o)

  3. Too adorable!!! I’m so sorry she got attacked – I don’t know what I would do if that happened while my girls were out free-ranging! She looks like she’s doing great though, I hope she recovers completely with no infections!

  4. You are an excellent mother hen! I think it a very good sign that she has hung in this long. Keep up the good work. Her prognosis sounds very good with that kind of TLC.

  5. i have been reading your animal updates aloud to my 7 yr old. she told me that she especially wants to learn more about sheep + lambs this summer, and your blog has been a great way to get to know more and “meet” some woolly friends.
    we are both thinking good thoughts for bridgette, poor girl!

  6. I’ve been reading your blog for a while and thought I should come out of lurkdom and let you know how much I enjoy it. I live over in Liberty, MO so we’re “almost” neighbors.

    That last pic of Bridgette is great.

    I’m a new spinner and it’s making me remember what it was like when I was a new knitter and didn’t know anything. The learning curve is long.

  7. I feel very sorry for her and I hope she will make a full recovery! Are there any painkillers for chickens that you could give her? Her backside really looks scary.

    Best wishes,

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