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Chicken Illness and Other Drama on the Homestead

I have had my hands full with my three chickens this spring. I had everyone laying and doing well, but that has all changed. We have been nursing one chicken for several weeks. Another one had gone broody, but now she is crowing up a storm. Then we have one more broody girl that we are trying to break.

After keeping an eye on our little Lilah, I started to suspect she could have worms since she had been losing weight. I was able to get that confirmed from the vet and we started treatment for the flock. She still continued to lose weight and started having some breathing issues.

My husband was reluctant to go to the vet for a full exam because we had paid so much money in the past to try treatments, but still ended up losing our girls. We read that antibiotics don’t always work. I understood his point and started looking for home remedies. I ended up giving her some colloidal silver and activated charcoal. We also have been using VetRx mostly in her water to try to help with the breathing.

She did seem to start feeling better and I would see her eating. We also fed her with a dropper to try to help fatten her up. In addition, we have been feeding her organic baby food as supplemental food. It really has been up and down with her, but I am glad to see that she has had improvement. She is not 100 percent, but I hope that will soon change.

Our crazy hen Buster was looking so good and being all productive, but of course she can’t resist going broody. It seemed like I was able to break her fairly quickly, but then she started to crow. The worst thing about it was that she would sometimes crow way early in the morning well before sunrise. That is not cool.

We actually bring her inside when she does crow because we worry about the neighbors. I have never been able to figure out why she goes through her crowing spells. She can go for months without crowing and then she starts up again.

Now in the past week or so, our final chicken has added to the drama. Our little Nailie has gone broody and she is so persistent. Since no one is laying, I have blocked off the nesting boxes, but she just insists on laying right outside of one.

When I am home and able to supervise, I lock her out of the coop all together. She spends a good amount of time clucking and being puffed up. Now I have decided to keep her inside overnight in our little chicken motel with a built in roost. I am hoping some roost time will help her.

I have had chickens for around six years now and I continue to learn about taking care of them. Whenever they get sick, I feel like I have failed them. We have started weighing all our girls so that we can better keep track of things, but then we did go a little longer between weighing the girls. I beat myself up over that because I wonder if we could have treated things sooner with Lilah. I am just ready for everybody to get back to normal.


Photo property of Amanda McHenry.

Published on Apr 19, 2018

Grit Magazine

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