Since several friends have asked about Sweet Pea, I thought an update was needed.
She's much better. Can you hear me knocking on wood?
Let me try to encapsulate the saga thus far.
SP first exhibited an eye discharge and had a "chesty" sound when she talked. I assumed a respiratory illness. We segregated her, which meant nine other hens were not happy since half the coop was off-limits. I gave her garlic water - a garlic clove gets plopped in their big waterer most of the time during the winter.
"Garlic is the king of the medicinal plants... It has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiprotozoal properties. Moreover, it boosts the immune system, improves body weight gain, heightens the digestibility of ingredients, decreases bad cholesterol, and also augments the meat quality parameters." (2).
I attempted to call a vet that supposedly included chickens in their practice. No luck. Found one about 30 minutes away and we had a phone consult Monday afternoon. He guessed worms. Really?! Shows how good I am at diagnosing chicken symptoms; I was sure it was respiratory. I happened to have an antibiotic that mixes with water on hand and got liquid Panacur from the vet. So little Sweet Pea has been dosed with both since Tuesday morning. She is much perkier, no discharge and her behavior is more normal. She has been integrated back into the flock. Let me add Miss Helen was quite the bully when we attempted to integrate Sweet Pea a little earlier.
Helen, the bully
As Sweet Pea has gained strength, Helen has backed off, although this morning she got yelled at again.
But yesterday Lily started acting pretty dopey.
I decided I needed to clean out the coop ASAP if we had a hen with worms so the girls got free range time yesterday while I tended to that chore. Lily stood by herself in the bottom of the donkey hay manger for quite a while, then wandered off a bit and stood stock still, as though sun bathing. But there was no sun.
No eye discharge, but similar lethargic behavior to Sweet Pea in the beginning. Then this morning I noticed her dirty butt, which raises a whole new set of questions and possible treatments.
I'm feeling my way, but am hopeful. Sweet Pea definitely seems on the mend (hope I'm not jinxing her) and let's hope our doctoring brings Lily around too.
Thank you to all the friends who have sent Sweet Pea energy, prayers and generally good juju.
**As an aside, apparently Peggy Sue did not get the memo advising the flock to abstain from molting past the fall season. This girl has no feathers on her neck at all!