Star has a visit to the vets

Star has such long toes that she sometimes stands on her own toes and is quite clumsy. Nearly a week ago while I was sweeping the chickens’ patio I happened to see her stumble off the edge of the wooden blocks that make the steps from the patio area to the run.

The following day I noticed that Star was limping. I picked Star up and inspected her feet and legs and couldn’t see anything amiss.

It seemed to have knocked her confidence as she wouldn’t compete with the other girls at the food dishes so I put a feeding station just inside the wooden shelter like when she first came to us.

I hoped that Star would get better on her own but over the following days her limp became more pronounced and she was spending a lot of her time sitting down. I decided to separate Star into the corner of the run that Diamond had been in. This would mean that she wouldn’t have to compete for food and she wouldn’t have to get up the steps to the patio area which was a struggle for her.

Star is separated
Star spends most of her time sitting

I phoned the vet and the earliest appointment they had was for this afternoon.

I also decided that while Star was separate I would worm her as I realised that I had wormed the girls just before she came in. While separate it would be easy to put the powder in her mash or in a dish with some sunflower hearts.

Meanwhile Diamond has a mucky bottom once more and sometimes makes a slight snoring sound. I am hoping that it is because dead worms are blocking her up a bit rather than live worms. I have found gape worms in her poop and on the patio area so I think she is coughing them up and pooping them out. I am cleaning up umpteen times a day to try to keep it as clean as possible. I decided to take the opportunity to talk to the vet about the whole gape worm situation while I was there.

At the vets we put Star on the floor so that the vet could see her limp. I then held Star while the vet gave her legs a feel all over. She concluded that it was her ankle that was causing her pain. She said that Star had torn her ligament. There is nothing that can be done to help fix it and it should get better on it’s own but will take time. She gave me some metacam for pain relief. It is a honey flavoured mixture that we can syringe to her beak.

The vet said that it would be best for Star to stay as inactive as possible. When I told her she was separated and the space was small and flat she said that was perfect.

In between I had run the vet through the whole situation with Diamond. She said that I was doing all the right things and she had no tips or advice to add. I said that when I realised after six months and lots of worming that Diamond still had gape worm I had considered having her put to sleep for the safety of the flock but decided that as gape worm had been amongst the flock for six months that I would have another go at trying to rid her of them.

I said that if I can’t get Diamond clear of gape worm after the next worming I may have to consider having her put to sleep because I can’t keep on worming so heavily on an ongoing basis. The vet absolutely agreed that I was right. She said difficult decisions have to be made for the good of the flock and Diamond herself and they would be totally on board with that.

I said it scares me that the other girls could get it and that I had read the eggs can stay in the soil for three or four years. I am paranoid if I see a girl eat a worm because worms eat the eggs and pass them on. She said that unfortunately you can’t disinfect soil. I said that I am cleaning the run all the time and she said there isn’t anything else I can do.

It was good to know that the vet thought I was doing everything right and as she said doing all that I can. Hopefully Star will start to feel better soon and will gradually heal. This is the first time in all of my chicken keeping time that I have had a girl have an injury.

With Diamond only time will tell. I hope I can get her through this but I also know that I have to be realistic. I can only do my best.

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6 Responses to Star has a visit to the vets

  1. Sophie says:

    Oh Carol, you’re really going through it again! Glad that Star’s ankle should get better on its own and the vet thought you were doing the right thing. Would it be a good idea to separate Diamond from the rest of the flock at the moment as you do have the room? Also would sprinkling Stalosan poultry disinfectant powder around (or another equivalent) help do you think?


    • Carol says:

      I can’t separate Diamond as Star has that space at the moment and she needs it most for now. Also while Diamond is separate she doesn’t eat properly. The worms she is expelling are dead due to the flubenvet but it’s unpleasant and I clear them quickly. As the vet said I can’t clean the soil. It’s a big run and three to four years of eggs being viable so I have to just hope none of the others get it and deal with it as it comes along. I did look at stalosan though and appreciate your suggestions.

  2. marion.pharo says:

    You do have so many problems with your girls, no one could look after them any better than you. I do hope they get better soon. Such bad luck with the worms. Awful if you do have to have Diamond put to sleep. I can see it would be the best for the flock. I hope Star is getting better, lucky that you can seperate her.

    • Carol says:

      Sometimes I feel so unlucky. I try so hard to keep the flock healthy and seem to have one problem after another. Diamond has stopped expelling worms but only time will tell if she is rid of them. The vet gave me some bigger syringes for when we do the repeat worming to make it easier. I cleaned her mucky bottom again and for now it has stayed clean. Star is still limping and sitting a lot. The vet said it could take two or three weeks to improve. I don’t think she likes being separate but she needs to be kept there for now to keep her resting her ankle. I feel so sorry for her but hope with time it will get better.

  3. DAVID says:

    Such a shame about Star, who looks like she is developing well. I remember, as a youngster, we had a buff sussex, Meg, who had a problem with a leg and my father used ice lolly sticks and tape as a splint. She got better, although always had a limp. With the ankle, though, there is no intervention possible, so I hope your (seemingly very competent) vet’s assessment proves to be correct. You certainly get more than your share of problems!

    • Carol says:

      The vet did say that splinting wasn’t an option. I am actually very impressed with our current vets. They seem very good with chickens. It’s unfortunate as the other girls all manage the step easily and I never expected it to cause a problem. It’s the first time in fourteen years of chicken keeping that I have had an injury in the flock. I really hope she will fully recover.

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