Hello BYC Friends!
I want to share a story with you about my blind chicken. I believe she is alive today because of all the helpful people who post on this website, and for that I am so grateful.
Meet FC. Yep that's her name.
She was a riley pullet so a funny name seemed fitting for this carrot colored lady. Ironically, once she hit puberty her personality totally mellowed out and she became one of my sweetest most personable birds. She popped out fire colored eggs almost everyday, so the name had to stick! I got her as a baby with one other bird. She and her sister Chelsea were like two peas in a pod. They always stuck together, side by side, while exploring the great beyond.
Below is a picture of them, this is the day FC laid her first egg. I don’t think she recognized it!
Here is what they looked like as young chicks.
Exactly a month ago this night, tragedy struck. The flock was attacked in the night and in the morning I came out to find most of my hens strewn around the run, feathers everywhere, bodies mutilated. Only a couple were actually eaten, and the rest of them were killed for sport, had their beaks or faces or part of their head ripped off. I am so sad for how much they must have suffered, and how scared they were in those moments. I still miss those birds very much, they were my babies. I am 99% confident this was the work of a raccoon. Security was promptly beefed up to prevent this from happening ever again.
Shockingly, I had a few survivors. Chelsea was one, although not unscathed. She had patches of missing feathers and one small cut on her. She also developed some unusual behaviors I will write about in another post. I found FC standing in the corner of the run motionless, and I thought she was dead. Then, her tail twitched. I scooped her up and rushed her inside.
FC was badly injured. She had cuts all over her face, comb, waddles, and both her eyes were swollen shut. There was a lot of swelling around her head. She had many more bald spots and a few shallow cuts on her body. I cleaned her up and put Vetericyn on all of her sores. She did not move and had no interest in food or water. She stayed inside and for the next few days. I force fed her scrambled eggs and wet bread, but that became very tolling on the both of us. She fought it as much as she could. She used to talk to me all the time, and now it is the silent treatment. I could not coax her out of it. She always hung her head low and had her tail down. She was already a tiny bird and was quickly becoming just skin and bones. I was becoming convinced she did not want to live. Maybe it would be better if I put her down.
This is where Katheter Queen Kathy’s advice saves the day (see Go Team ‘Tube Feeding’). It wasn’t time to give up yet. FC received tube feeding as well as antibiotics over the next several days. Tube feeding was so much easier and less stressful on her, and she was slowly gaining weight. She was able to take larger portions gradually. After about a week she was ready to eat and drink on her own. Her swelling was gone, but sadly she had lost her eyesight in both eyes.
FC won’t be able to do all her chicken activities like before; running, foraging, chasing bugs, stealing treats from her friends, hopping up on roosts. She is very happy with being held though and enjoys walking around, albeit usually in circle patterns, but at least those circles are widening! Her curiosity has come back, and her tail is up, which is always a good sign! She started laying again two days ago, and is right on track, 2 for 2! She also just started eating grass again, right after her egg laying picked up. It is almost like laying eggs makes her feel like a chicken again. She suddenly had more life after that pivotal point. I wish she could be reunited with the flock, but Chelsea now views her as a weak link and tries to peck her, so FC will need a separate protected area to live in. I do want her near the others though so she can hear them and maybe chat with them again. Once this is set up I will surely post pics! She will have a special handicap coop, run, and of course nestbox.
I hope this post helps anyone who may have an injured chicken, a victim from a raccoon attack, or even a special needs hen. It is always a tough decision whether to put an animal down or not, especially one treated not like livestock but as a pet. I am glad I didn’t give up on her. FC is only 5 months old, and with some special accommodations I think she can live a long happy life.