Diamond now has a beautiful fluffy white bottom. She looks the best she has looked since we got her.
We have now had Diamond and Saffron exactly two months. Diamond is now nine months old and Saffron is now seven months old. They are very settled in the flock and tame around me. They now don’t mind the camera at all.
On the first day with us I noticed straight away when I put the girls in the run that Diamond had a mucky bottom. The breeder had put her straight from his box into my cat box without me seeing it. Over the next few days her bottom got muckier and muckier.
The breeder had told me that Diamond was a heavy bodied breed. From the start she was breathing through an open beak when sitting down or after any exertion including dust bathing. At the time it was hot and we had never experienced this breed or indeed any heavy bodied breed before so we weren’t sure if it was just the heat.
It was then that Diamond started making the cough/hiccup sound. At that point I became convinced she had a heart problem. I remembered Sienna making this sound before she had heart failure.
I had just finished worming the girls and we had had the new girls for two weeks when Diamond was sitting on the wooden block that she is standing on in the photo above. She was struggling to breath through her open beak and was now making a gurgling sound. I was convinced she was having heart failure and was ready to take her to the vet possibly to be put to sleep.
It was at this point that I her saw her snaking her neck and shaking her head. This caused me to research gape worm and sure enough the symptoms were diarrhea, laboured breathing through an open beak, coughing and finally snaking the neck and shaking the head. Gape worm is not common and the earlier symptoms were the same as a heart problem.
As I had just wormed the girls with flubenvet which is supposed to be effective for all worms including gape worm, I started researching again, how to get rid of gape worm. The advice was that it is harder to get rid of than all the other types of worms and needs double the dose of flubevet. It also advised a repeat treatment two weeks later.
I immediately added flubenvet to some chopped tomato and offered this to Diamond while she was still sitting on the wooden block. Almost as soon as she had eaten it her symptoms stopped. I continued for seven days with the double dose for Diamond and then repeated two weeks later with a normal dose for the flock and a double dose for Diamond.
From the day that I first gave Diamond the double dose she stopped the open beak breathing. She stopped snaking her neck and shaking her head. The cough/hiccup noise has become only occasional rather than all the time. She moulted her mucky bottom feathers and lovey new feathers grew in. She is now a different bird to the one that we had first taken.
I won’t be using that breeder ever again. I think his birds are rather on the large size for bantams but mostly I think it was pretty bad of him not to have noticed that Diamond had a mucky bottom or if he had noticed to still pass her on to us. Also I am totally not impressed to be sold a bird with gape worm.
I think Diamond struck lucky with us. I always do as much research as possible with any chicken problem that comes my way and I think I pulled Diamond back from the brink in the nick of time. Any longer and she would have asphyxiated.
As it is Diamond is now a beautiful girl and I hope she will go on to have a happy and healthy life with us. I have learned a lot about gape worm the hard way.