She’s Baaaaaaack!

Sick HarrietIt’s been a long month for Harriet, locked in the garage, trying to recover from what I believe to be FOWL POX. (It’s been a long one for me, too, for that matter, as I’ve worked to keep her alive.)

I pretty much tried everything. Antibiotics, which didn’t help at all. Essential oils, which gave her temporary relief for her breathing, but didn’t help long term recovery. Warmth (we were going through a colder-than-usual weather pattern here so I set up a heater near her cage). High protein foods to coax her into eating (for a long time she didn’t eat much of anything). Trips to the bathroom with the shower running hot to help clear her lungs in the moist, warm air.Bathroom Breakfast

And still, she didn’t recover.  I tried not to give up hope, but it wasn’t looking good.

Then, one day, Harriet rallied back. She seemed much better almost instantly. She sounded  better, too. And acted ravenous, scarfing up as much food as I’d give her.  Her empty crop began to bulge a bit, after weeks of emptiness. Her runny, clear-ish poo started to look normal.

I knew we’d turned the corner. But in almost a month of sickness, she’d lost a lot of weight and muscle tone. I started letting her out for short recess breaks (it was still freezing here). We’d take little walks along the chicken fence to remind her and the rest of the flock that she belonged in there with them. She’d crawl under the big pine tree and find a nice dry place to take a dust bath. She started her characteristic skipping across the lawn again (she skips instead of walking).Christmas Recess

I decided it was time to re-introduce her to the rest of the flock.  At first she was still too weak for this pecking order hustle, so I’d protect her from the worst of it (she couldn’t stay on her feet), and keep the visits brief. I continued to give her exercise time away from the others, and watched her build her strength.Outside looking in

A few days ago, I went out to the garage and she gifted me with an egg! That egg made me happier even than the first she’d laid! I figured it was a good sign that she’d also gained enough strength to hold her own in the chicken yard, so I took her back out to the flock.

There was bit of scuffling, but nothing major, then relative peace. I took it upon myself to spend the afternoon cleaning out the coop so I could watch and make sure all was well. And so it seemed.Back in the Hood

Last night, after an entire month, Harriet slept out in the coop with the other hens. YES! This morning, everyone seemed happy, so her re-introduction is complete and I’ve finally got a chicken out of the garage! A healthy, happy chicken.

I think we’re both relieved, me and Harriet. But I bet she’s going to miss the warm breakfast served to her every morning as she snuggled down on the end of the roost  closest to her own personal little heater.

Me, however? I’m glad to have life return to normal. And I’m very glad Harriet made it.

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14 Responses to She’s Baaaaaaack!

  1. Karen Holderman says:

    Wonderful news! A great way to start the New Year!

  2. Aldara says:

    I am so happy to hear Harriet has recovered and is back with her flock. Thank you for posting her story. It helps a lot and it is an inspiration for all of us that are in a similar situation. I have a hen that has been battling with bumble foot for almost three months. She was taking antibiotics (orally) and was kept with the flock, everything was looking great but unfortunately the infection came back so the vet sent her another type of antibiotic that had to be mixed with her drinking water. At this point I had to separate her from her flock. Monday will be the last day of taking the antibiotic. I am so hopeful that the infection has finally cleared, she is going to the vet to have her white blood cells count checked.Tuesday is the day of the reintegration, I plan to move some of the bullies in a pen that they have never been before so it will be new territory for them so they will be distracted from fighting so much, of course they will be supervised. Wish me luck!

    • Kerrie says:

      Oh, bumblefoot is such a pain! I had a hen with it last summer. She recovered though. Hopefully yours will do the same! Good luck. And thanks for all the kind comments!

      • Dunja Marcum says:

        I had a hen with bumblefoot- and because she is missing her back toe (got trapped in wire as a chick and had to be cut off) it wouldn’t heal, kept trying to treat it at home. One day it turned into cellulitis, severely, and some of the tissue started dying! I spent A LOT on vet care, and she had to stay inside for about 2 weeks. Bumblefoot is NOT to be messed with…..I do have one hen that had a good sized sore, and it seemed to heal on its own, but she does have a little limp.

      • Kerrie says:

        Oh yes, I do know it’s not to be messed with. With the help of my vet, I preformed surgery on her feet, and kept her in for 2 weeks, changing bandages daily, with ointment from vet. Then, had to re-introduce her to the flock, etc. etc. It was a big pain, but it worked and she recovered and it had a happy ending. I have friends who have lost hens to bumblefoot, though. It’s a serious thing not to be taken lightly!

  3. What a wonder~fowl and heartwarming story! Well done!

  4. Carrie says:

    Love reading your story. Hubby and I about to retire and in talking to realtors they laugh when My answer comes as “I am looking for a place I can have chickens, That’s all”. After being out of the countryside for 50 yrs.. (My favorite memories). I want to retire where I can have my own . I love Hens and the sounds of a fine Rooster. I have the time and I want my own beautiful birds who surprise me with the excitement of eggs.

    • Kerrie says:

      I love how you write about it ll…the sounds of a fine rooster and beautiful birds who surprise you with the excitement of eggs…a true chicken kindred! :)

  5. I’m so incredibly happy that she made it! You are a such a good chicken mama and you deserve an award for your diligence to Harriet and her needs. This news was a wonderful start to my morning!

  6. Janice says:

    I had a similar story last summer and did all the things you did, for my little black sex link–Blackie. She made a recovery but alas, just before the cold set in, and at the end of their molt, I put the chickens to bed one night and the next morning I found that Blackie has passed on. I am thinking she just may not have gained as much of her strength back. She was my beauty, always ready to eat out of my hand and greet me to see what goodies I had for them. I miss her quirkiness but I do have a black amerucana that is much the same as Blackie.

    Good luck with Harriet! These successes make this all worth it!

    • Kerrie says:

      Oh that’s too bad! Sorry to hear of your loss! It’s always hard. The ‘special’ ones are even harder! Chickens are both so hardy and so frail at the same time. They can turn so quickly.

      So far Harriet is doing well out with the other girls. Hopefully she’ll be around for a long while.

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