I continue to be blessed with the (extremely local) reputation for being willing and able to care for sick chickens, and therefore have a frequent influx of "gifts" of sick babies. I really enjoy them, though they are sure time-suckers, not to mention expensive! I am enough of a lunatic to feel, however, that they are better company than most people, and that they develop a genuine affection for me. They sure seem to!
At any rate, I am frustrated and quickly approaching fed-up status, with the water-soluble antibiotics. Though they seem to halt the progression of the sinus/respiratory/eye infections these birds typically arrive with, they do not seem ever to cure them. I have birds that, although apparently happy and active, have had stuffy, runny noses, and crusty, swollen eyes for MONTHS! The antibiotic goes into their water every day. I have switched it up a few times, thinking that the infections must have developed a tolerance for a particular medication. Each evening I bathe icky eyes, clean out noses, and inspect them for new and interesting things, both bad and good. I begin to feel that I am simply enabling the germs to have such a nice host, longer than they otherwise would have! Also, I am running out of places to isolate birds with different symptoms.
In addition to this marathon convalescence, there is the irritation and expense of trying to keep that antibiotic water clean. When it is cold at night here, I bring the sickest ones inside, and install them in the bathroom, since the floor is easier to clean and disinfect. Well, the birds seem to have watched enough humans use the commode, that they view any container of water as a place to deposit poop. The water is nasty, an hour after I clean it! I might, by now, have let them just deal with the consequences of this behavior, at least during the day, but so many of them arrive with GADS of worms, that I don't dare heap worm bits and eggs onto the already full plates of their immune systems. They have loads of mites, too, without exception.
SO (she said, finally arriving at the point), I wonder whether I might be more effective at getting the medicine into the birds, and keeping their water clear (I can use a much bigger container, or even an automatic system, if I do not have to add meds to it) if I just made a yummy mush for them first thing in the morning, put the days dose in it, and hand-fed it to each bird. That way, I would not have to wonder how much they were getting.
Has anyone done this? If so, how did you determine the dose of the powder to give each one? If I am putting (for example) a half-teaspoon into a gallon of water, and most of the water is still there at the end of the day, then the bird cannot be getting much of that half-teaspoon of medication. So, I would think that a tiny dose would suffice. But, I know that to under-medicate with antibiotics, leads one down the path of resistance to the medication much more quickly than if one doses correctly, or even a bit excessively.
So - anyone have any wisdom they care to pass along? I will be most grateful for any input!
BTW - the photo is of my three newest patients. They were given to me by a woman who had four of them shipped to her, half-way across the country, then did not have the time or desire to deal with them once they got sick. One died, but I have the three. One of them (the buff lace) is very, very sick. I am so worried about her!