Things have been going along pretty uneventfully here. The two January chickens and the plymouth chicken are laying very well. None of the three February chickens are laying yet. We made chicken nipple watering systems and have been thrilled with them.
We left on Thursday to go to Zion National Park for a few days. I asked a friend to look in on the chickens and collect eggs. I told her it was an easy, almost effortless job, and she wouldn't have any trouble. Famous last words.
Friday, I got a panicked phone call from her. When she went to collect eggs, she discovered Thing 1 (one of the polish, and the one I've determined is a pullet) was out of the chicken enclosure. This is very bizarre- we have that thing buttoned up pretty tight, so I'm a little shocked she was out, and still have no idea how that happened. ChickenSitter managed to capture her, and went to put her back in the henhouse. When she opened the door, she discovered Thing 2 (the other polish, and the one I've decided is a cockerel) laying on the floor, unable to move and barely breathing. I called my awesome chicken neighbor, and explained what was going on. She went over and collected Thing 2 and took him home. She fed him water by syringe every half hour until bedtime. Told him that he wasn't allowed to die on her watch. He's an obedient little guy, and lived through the night.
I got home late yesterday afternoon, and found him in pretty rough shape, despite my neighbor's nursing. I made an electrolyte solution, and fed him some poly vil sol (baby vitamins without iron). Amazingly enough, he survived the night again, though he still couldn't stand, and he held his head at a funny angle. He also wouldn't eat.
I was in a panic. I figure it was one of three things:
1- He had been injured somehow, whether by the other chickens or by some ()*^*(&%^ who realized we were out of town, and in the fracas, Thing 1 escaped.
2- He had some VERY TERRIBLE DISEASE, and he, along with the rest of my flock, would be dead shortly.
3- He had wry neck, which can be the result of a vitamin deficiency or poor genetics that make vitamin absorption difficult.
A chicken friend of mine came over, and gave him an injection of dex something or other that is a mild steroid and pain reliever. She also gave him an injection of fluids to help with the dehydration.
A few hours later, he is actually walking around! I don't think he's out of the woods yet, but he seems to be doing better. I gave him some food and he actually ate it. He's also clucking at me. He's recovered enough that he keeps trying to jump out of the little box my neighbor brought him in, so I got out my chick brooder.
I'm supposed to give him another dose of the dex tomorrow, and even though I got clear instructions, I am a little nervous. Here's hoping it goes well.