The last couple of days I have been beavering away on a project – more to be revealed later! When I got home, I went out into the garden to let the silkies enjoy some time roaming the garden. As my husband made lunch, I noticed that Nimbus, our black Silkie, was making strange noises. Not clucking noises but breathing noises which got progressively louder over the next half hour. Remembering a tip from the Yorkshire Vet, I ran upstairs with her, close the bathroom window and door and turned on the shower. Steam can work wonders for respiratory relief and after a few minutes, she seemed a bit more comfortable but still making noise when she breathed.
Worried, I picked her up and brought her into the kitchen whilst frantically messaging a lovely lady who runs a special needs chicken group online. Despite the time difference, she replied immediately, telling us to mix dried oregano with apple sauce. Odd as it sounded, I dropped everything and ran to the corner shop. Searching the shelves, I spied three small jars of apple sauce. Grabbing two, I paid and dashed back home. I spooned a bit of the apple sauce onto a plastic lid, mixed in the oregano and gave it to her. Typically, she turned her beak up at it. I tried hand feeding her but she was having none of it. After several minutes of wrestling to get two tiny bits down her, I gave up. Chickens are quite prone to stress and I didn’t want to do anything to make her worse. Messaging the lady again, she recommended adding a few bits of corn to the apple sauce mix.
The change was instantaneous! Immediately she began to peck at the mix. True she was mainly eating the corn rather than the apple but it was a start. As I watched, her rasping noises dropped lower and lower. For short periods, she was breathing normally without any noise. Following the instructions from the lady, we will be giving her the apple sauce mix twice a day until she stops making those noises. From her experience and my brief check of Nimbus, she reckoned it would be some inflammation.
Whilst Nimbus was in the carrier intermittently eating the apple sauce, I took her upstairs. There are many memorable escapades that occur when owning chickens, but Nimbus sitting in the bathroom whilst my husband took a bath has to be one of my all time favourites!
My plan is to keep her inside so we can monitor her breathing noises during the day then put her in the coop with the others overnight.