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.
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.