A sick chick goes to the Vet

For the last few days, our Plymouth Rock chick has been struggling to stand and walk. At first, I thought it was because the other two chicks were picking on her. They were but her legs don’t seem to be in the correct position and she seems to be in pain.

On Tuesday morning, I removed hee from the coop with the other chicks and put her back into the greenhouse. I made sure all the doors and window were open to try to keep her cool. She is still drinking and eating which is good. But she is still struggling to stand and walk.

My husband managed to catch her and we had a good feel of both of her legs yesterday. Both were warm so still had a good blood flow. I couldn’t feel any obvious breaks or dislocation. She was clearly very uncomfortable and wasn’t happy about being held. It was time to take her to the vet. If she was in pain and it was something serious, I didn’t want her to suffer.

It was relatively easy to catch her and put her in my cat carrier. I had put an old towel on the bottom of the carrier so she had somewhere comfortable to sit and something to grip onto. As I was sorting out the carrier, Phil swung by and we had a chat about her. To her credit she was managing to stand a bit better than the last few days which was a relief. She was simple enough to grab from the coop and I got her into the carrier quickly.

I walked her home and got into the taxi. She took a while to work out that sitting down was best but although she was terrified, she managed the journey ok. The vet was lovely and we were in and out fairly quickly. He asked us to come back on Tuesday when his colleague who has experience with poultry can have a look at her. I left reassured she wasn’t in pain, that she hadn’t broken/sprained/dislocated anything and a suggestion of a neurological cause. This is a little worrying as there isn’t much they can do for neurological conditions but we will know more on Tuesday.

Before I put her back into the greenhouse coop, I cleaned it out. It’s needed a clean out since Emily and her chicks outgrew it. I swept and cleared all the old bedding and replaced it with new sawdust. I refreshed the water and topped up the food. She squalked her disapproval of being caught yet again but settled back into the coop quite well. It didn’t take too long before she had a drink and ate some food. I went off to find some weeds for her to eat. These were greeted with enthusiasm and I left her to enjoy them.

Next I spent some time at the clubhouse having a snack. All the usual suspects were there, enjoying the patches of sunshine that appeared between the clouds. It wasn’t long before everyone ambled off to their own plots, I went off to sort out the girls. They were all there, happily scratching away. There is a definite improvement in the coop with the new girls more integrated with the older ones. I threw out their treats and berated them for the lack of eggs.

Phil told me earlier that Obi had been picked up by his friend. She has agreed to send me a photo of Obi when he is fully grown. I think he will be magnificent when he is fully grown. This has left Hans on his own. I have finally finished being in denial about him. He is standing proud and striding around the coop. So far, he hasn’t crowed but it’s only a matter of time!

I stopped to have a chat with Geoff before we decided it was time for a cuppa. I love spending time, sitting outside the clubhouse and putting the world to rights. As we were enjoying the sunshine, Steve appeared. He was looking for Phil to do the bee check. I can’t believe a week has gone by since we split the hives and saw Queens hatching.

Steve roped me in and we spent a good hour going through the hives. The original colony on Phil’s plot is still enormous despite being split four times this summer! We found the Queen cup still sealed so hopefully she will hatch out in the next few days. In the first nuc box, we found a hatched Queen cell in one but no sign of the Queen. This may be due to her flying off to be mated or that they have rejected her entirely. The second nuc box had the red Queen in. We searched several times on each frame but couldn’t find her. Whilst Steve did one final check of the frames, I looked inside the box between the frames. By chance, I spotted her in the bottom corner. Reassured she was still there, we moved onto the next hive.

This hive was busy and we spent quite a lot of time checking for the Queen. Again, she proved difficult to find but we did find eggs which means she was definitely there three days ago. This hive and both nuc boxes were being swarmed by wasps. Despite several wasp traps, there were still tons around. They break into the hive and steal honey from the bees. Often if it is a lone wasp, the bees will kill it. However, they tend to prey on smaller colonies like the ones in the nuc boxes.

The last hive on the community garden presented some difficulties. As Steve tried to remove the Queen excluder, several bees took objection and proceeded to attack him. He dashed away to stop any further bees stinging him as being stung releases pheromones which other bees pick up on. Somewhat nervously, I finished up the hive check. I didn’t find the Queen but I found a frame full of eggs. We decided to quit while we are ahead and reassembled the hive.

Our last hive was quick, I found the Queen (this one was a green spot), she has been in the new hive for a week after Steve bought her. We couldn’t find any eggs but it’s still early for her to be laying in a new colony.

Just before I left, I picked some raspberries and gave them to our little chick. She scoffed two straight off and I left the others scattered around the coop for her to eat later.

Tomorrow I will be down early to see if she has managed to stand or walk better. Here’s hoping!

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