I am a first time farmer and chicken keeper. I have obtained my dream internship on a farm in Portland and dove head first into the urban chicken keeping world when one of the chickens [Libby, a 6 month old] on the farm hurt her leg somehow. She couldn't walk to her food or water and was severely dehydrated when I found her tucked in the leftover fava beans. The bleeding heart within me carried her to the barn where we kept her in an old dog crate with food and water. After about two weeks of immobility, I felt too bad to leave her in the damp barn, and decided to take her home.
This is where the adventure begins. I have had her for about two months now, and have been an overly worried, super caring mom the entire time. She has improved so much, although she still limps around. I have learned so much, each day, watching her and updating her run and building a chicken coop and improving her standard of living. Here are some things i've noticed and have dealt with during her time with me...
Two main issues:
Leg: She mysteriously has a limp that no one has been able to figure out what is wrong or how it happened. I suspect a child picked her up on the farm and tossed her... But it has been at least two months and she still has a limp, that i suspect will be there forever. I have attached some images of her legs. Have played with the idea of: Scaly leg mite, bumblefoot, or a fracture that will never heal because it was never set right.
Respiratory health: *The most recent issue* About two weeks ago, I noticed a crusty dirt clump around her left nostril. I cleaned her up and she seemed to be fine up until this past week when I noticed a little crusty again, but this time it looked as though it was crusty blood. I cleaned her up once again, but it seemed to be unpleasant for her so I stopped and she cleaned it up herself. She has been popping up onto my shoulder when I hang out with them, and I hear her breathing through her nose. Like she has a stuffy nose. I suspected it might have been some straw I had in the crate, which I have removed. Not sure what to do about a stuffy nose, potential respiratory issue........... :(
Comb: Since the mishap, her comb has never regained its full red glow. There is always food and clean water, which I ever so often add electrolytes/vitamins/or oregano oil to.
Digestive health: When I first brought her home, she had runny poops and I was super worried that her crop was impacted. I dealt with it the best I could and she has slowly regained gut health and has normal looking poops and an empty crop in the mornings, phew.
Housing: I have worked for about a month or so on slowly improving her home situation, and my room mate and I finally completed an awesome chicken coop (I also adopted another chicken [Fefe] from the farm who was getting pecked featherless by the other ladies, so now she has a little lady friend to remind her she is a chicken!). I have an open bottom coop where I am layering a mix of straw and fall leaves from my walnut tree.
I guess if anyone who has a lot of experience with chicken keeping has any two cents on what might be up with her leg and respiratory health, I would be grateful! She is the sweetest little chicken I have EVER encountered, and I care about her so much it hurts... Just want to figure out what's up with her, and whether or not I am being an over-worried mam ;-0
B, Libby, and Fefe
Edited by alltransmogrify - 9/28/15 at 3:38pm