Once the sun finally came out yesterday (typical SoCal summer – bone-chilling cold until around 4 pm) , it was an almost idyllic day in the Chicken Kingdom.
The little ones, like every other animal that resides here, have honed a remarkable sense of entitlement for being just two months old. Like everyone else, they want their time in the sun.
So what (other than this sodden, soggy weather) could be wrong with our picture?
Autumn declined to come out of the coop Wednesday morning, which might be perfectly understandable given the drizzle and fog – if she weren’t a chicken. Autumn loves her morning walkabouts, so when she sat quietly on her roost with her eyes closed, I knew something was wrong. Again.
Back to the vet. Same old same old. Internal laying/egg yolk peritonitis. They drained the fluid from her abdomen and removed an internally -laid egg, gave her another shot of Lupron – I think this is fourth – and sent her home with antibiotics.
The sobering reality is that Autumn may be on borrowed time. If we weren’t throwing fiscal caution to the wind and watching her “like a hawk”, (that phrase has significantly more meaning now that the neighborhood hawk has his eye on the girls) sweet Autumn would no longer be with us.
A helpful web site, http://littlehenrescue.co.uk/after.aspx, explains that, as shown in the diagram above, the oviduct is not actually attached to a hen’s ovary. This can lead to problems. The oviduct can malfunction, or the eggs can be improperly formed and then travel back into the oviduct where they can break . The latter is probably what happened to Autumn when she began laying very strangely-formed eggs back in May:
The symptoms, as concisely listed on the littlehenrescue site, are as follows:
Dirty around vent
Swollen under vent and/or between legs
Sometimes redness on swollen areas
Odd stance (penguin look)
Sometimes waddling or wobbly
Apologies to all you non-chicken-keepers for the turgid and gory details, but since there is not an overabundance of helpful information about the subject available to backyard flock owners, I’m hoping the details might help someone else .
Why, oh why, must chickens be so fragile?
“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains
unawakened.” – Anatole France