This has been by my side pretty much everywhere I have gone since Friday last week. I do not know how we would do any of this without the video camera. It allows us to keep an eye on her without having to disturb her all the time. At night it is infra-red, so we can see her in the dark.
On Friday I spoke to the vet from Easter Sunday as well as the exotic animals vet, who wanted to see her at her next available appointment which was Saturday morning. I felt it was important to point out that the symptoms we were seeing on Thursday were quite different to what we saw on Sunday, where she just seemed unbalanced. Partly it is our fault for picking up on the chicken being unwell so quickly – the tell tale symptoms took more time to develop.
Saturday morning we took Beegee to the vet, who wanted to do some tests and an x-ray, she would call us in a couple of hours with any results. We returned home and energetically cleaned the delicate nirvana. I’m not good at waiting at the best of times.
The x-rays showed two different internal infections – one in the ear, and one in the last stage of the digestive tract. Either one of these on their own would be no big deal, but the two together means her chances of survival are around 30%. So we had a tough decision to make – euthanase or throw everything possible at her and see how she does.
This is never an easy decision to make. Beegee had shown me over the previous week that she is a fighter and we wanted to give her every chance, so the vet loaded her up with antibiotic injections – meaning we would not have to dose her for the next 24 hours therefore she could rest as much as possible.
Saturday evening we managed to get some good feeds into her, and she was eating beautifully. We’ve noticed she is more alert in the afternoon and evening which is not quite normal for a chicken, they usually sleep at night and you can’t really wake them up to the normal stage of chicken alert-ness.
On Sunday we focused on medication, food, and making her super comfortable. Sunday night we needed to get some good sleep, so I asked Sephyroth if he could help out by watching my chicken and letting me know if she tried to stand up AKA poop, or if anything weird happened. Above you see a screenshot I sent him so he could know what he was seeing on camera. He could message me if I needed to get up and check on her. That worked out great.
Monday we began to see some positive signs – her poops began to smell the way chicken poop should instead of OMG get that smelly thing out of here! She stood up and stayed standing up, then she took off across the room without falling over.
I spoke to the vet and gave her the link to the camera so she could see what I was seeing. She said that the standing meant we were having success on the infection in the digestive area. It did make life slightly harder for us, because we needed to find a way to best support her in sleeping and standing. An extra rolled up towel mostly did the trick.
Monday night around 11:30 we went in to check on her and she was looking a lot better suddenly. The ear infection was making her tilt her head and neck to the side – this straightened right up. When I checked on the camera feed about 2:30am, I was so freaked out by what I saw..
Beegee had decided she needed to be “up” on a roost. This was an incredibly good sign.
So we both got up and created her a roost with a piece of wood sitting underneath her, like she would be used to in the coop within the “nest” we had made her which was supporting her neck and head. We slept a lot better with the knowledge that if she did poop, she would not be sitting in it, which was the thing keeping me awake the most. Once a chicken is settled on the roost they usually stay there all night.
Tuesday has generally been a day of medication, feeding and trying to get her to stay in her special chicken roost bed. She is making progress. We are by no means out of the woods yet. The biggest concern is that the ear infection might spread into the brain, and that she would be unlikely to recover from.
We have hope, and for now that is enough. :) But just so you know, I am a bit sleep deprived and not around much, and I have a lot of unread posts in my feed reader. I will catch up eventually. :)