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