Thursday, March 5, 2009

She's Gonna Make it After All

Am I dating myself by using a Mary Tyler Moore title? Am I really old enough to remember that theme song? Surely not. My new bifocals I picked up today beg to differ, but I digress...

I have chickens on my back porch again. Two of 'em. Big Bertha Brahma, one of the fat-bottom girls, was getting her new little feathers picked out as fast as she could grow them. She's now getting a week long private spa treatment in the brooder. I was trying to catch a friend to bring in with her when I noticed Betty Lou Brahma. She was nearly asleep standing up while all the others were sounding the intruder alarm and running amok. When I picked her up I realized she was skinny as a rail under all those feathers. And she had lost all the color in her face.

I brought her inside and gave her a closer inspection and determined she was knocking on heaven's door. I didn't think she would make it through the night. But she did. Then the next morning I realized that she hadn't emptied her crop over night. What's that you say? You don't know what a crop is? Oh, yeah, I forget ya'll aren't chicken obsessed like me. Well, a crop is a little storage space in the chicken's throat where they store food before it gets passed on to the gizzard. The gizzard is basically the equivalent to our stomach. Betty Lou Brahma's crop was clogged. And most likely had been for quite awhile. So she wasn't able to get any nutrition. Hence the rapid weight loss.

Luckily I was able to quickly hop on over to Backyard Chickens and determine the best method of curing an impacted crop. I needed to oil her up. Thank goodness we're studying Biology this year and happened to have an eyedropper handy. One dropper full of vegetable oil down the chicken's throat followed by a crop massage to break up the mass seemed to get things moving a little. A repeat treatment again the next morning followed by moistened feed and mega doses of NutraDrench poultry vitamins seems to be pulling her out of it. It's going to be awhile before she's herself again, but I think she's gonna make if after all.

I distinctly recall reading somewhere that chickens were low-maintenance pets. I need to find that and show it to the girls since they seem to have been out to lunch when that memo was passed around.

7 comments:

Carol said...

That poor little baby. I hope she is going to be ok. Being a city girl I thought chickens just ate and pooped, ate and pooped and maybe laid an egg now and then. I never knew they were high maintenance pets. I have learned a lot about chickens on your blog and gotten lots of giggles at the same time. Thank you.

Suzette said...

This is so enlightening. My only experience with chickens has been tossing them some food and gathering the eggs. And inviting them for dinner now and then, of course. Who knew all this drama went on behind the scenes?

BTW, every time I drop by, I hope to learn that Beth's all better and back in the coop with the rest of the girls. Update????

Jayne said...

When I saw your post title in my blogfeed, I immediately started humming the MTM song! :) Too bad you don't live closer--Mare's got some chickens he wants to give away, and a couple of them are his pets so he's picky about who they go to. "They're not fancy chickens like hers," he says, "just chicken-chickens." Hee hee.

Milah said...

I think we can dub you "The Chicken Whisperer."

I'm glad the girl is gonna make it.

Terri said...

Your babies are high maintenance, aren't they? Remind them that they're not supposed to be! :)

Sandy said...

I am so glad you found her in time and that she is going to fully recover.

StitchinByTheLake said...

Thank goodness you didn't have to do mouth to beak resucitation! That would have been really scary. :) blessings, marlene