This is a very sad post that I have been putting off writing for quite some time. I have gone through the emotions of feeling that we are really unlucky to feeling upset to ultimately feeling sad.
On the day that we got Diamond I noticed that she had a slightly mucky bottom. Within the first few days we noticed she was very inactive but as she isn’t a breed we have had before I wondered if it was because she was what the breeder described as a heavy bodied bird.
Her bottom became more mucky and she spent a lot of time sitting. Within her first few days with us we noticed that when sitting her breathing was laboured. Her tail would bob up and down and she would have her beak open while breathing.
At this point my thoughts were that it could be the dreaded mico (respiratory problem). It has never flared up when bringing in new girls before but I wondered if this was the exception. Despite thinking I didn’t have enough tylan for another treatment I measured a teaspoon into my little dishes and found there was more than I had thought and there was enough for six days of treatment.
I felt I had nothing to lose in treating the flock with tylan to be on the safe side so I started putting it in the drinking water on Diamond’s fifth day with us. I knew if it was a respiratory problem she should start to improve by the third day.
Instead of starting to improve Diamond appeared to be slightly worse and was now making a sound like a hiccup. At first I thought she had something stuck but she continued to make this sound regularly.
I then remembered that I had heard this sound before. I took Sienna, one of our seramas, to the vet because she was making this same sound and the stress of putting her in the cat box and taking her to the vet sent her in to heart failure.
The vet said that Sienna had a heart problem and the hiccuping sound was a symptom. It turned out that Jasmine, her sibling, had a heart problem too and we lost her six months later.
I have since researched the internet for symptoms of a heart problem in chickens and it says – difficulty breathing, coughing or hiccuping sound and reduced exercise tolerance. I am now convinced that Diamond does have a heart problem.
Diamond looks okay when she is standing up but it’s when she is sitting that her breathing becomes laboured. She also looked worse when we had a hot day. She is eating, drinking and enjoying the treats of greens or apple.
I know that if I called the breeder he would probably offer me another bird but he doesn’t have any other breeds that I want and anyway I don’t have the heart to bring in any more girls.
I know that if this had been mico the tylan would have made her better and the fact that it hasn’t and the sound that she is making is the same as Sienna was making makes me absolutely certain that it’s a heart problem. I also know that the breeder would not have known this and it is just really bad luck.
The positive thing is that it isn’t something than can effect the other girls and at the moment Diamond seems to have a good quality of life. As soon as she looks like she is struggling I will take her to the vet to firstly check my diagnosis is correct and to have her put to sleep.
There is nothing that can be done for a heart problem so I am not going to stress her with a vet visit until I have to. The advise on line is to feed layers pellets, not growers pellets, and fruit and veg which I am already doing.
It is so sad as Diamond is such a lovely girl. She has very quickly become used to me and will take spinach from my fingers and is very calm when I pick her up to perch her each evening. She waddles towards me when I go in the run.
I don’t think there is anything else I can do but keep an eye on her and try to give her the best life possible for however long she is with us.