Amy Pond is the Golden Silkie on the left-- sweetest little bird ever
My one year old Silkie, Amy, (Amy Pond-- for any other Whovians) started staggering and putting her wings out to catch herself like a drunken sailor today. Then she sat down on the porch near the dog's water bowl and drank a lot of water and then just sat with her eyes closed and all puffed up. She was tipping forward so her breast feathers were dangling in the water and I was actually concerned she might fall forward and drown in the water bowl. I picked her up and she opened her eyes to look at me, but her head just kept drooping and eyes closing like she just couldn't stay awake.
This happened to this chicken once before, and also to one of our Buff Orphingtons once and both recovered within a few hours. It's like they are intoxicated, and I wonder if it's something they've eaten in our yard-- a bug or plant. We have made every effort to remove any toxic plants from the yard even before we got chickens.
I was worried about Amy this morning, in case the other birds picked on her in her weakened state or a cat or hawk found her like that. My chickens are in a temporary enclosure at the moment and she's so small she can walk out under the door, which is how she managed to stagger to the porch (see how she would seek us out for help!). I had to leave for work, so I put her into the brand new coop we are nearly finished building where she could have some peace and her own food and water. I put her on a fluffy clean bed of new wood shavings in her new nesting box. I returned 3 hours later to find her dead and stiff.: (
This particular little silkie had a bit of a hard time as she was new to the flock last year and is at the bottom of the pecking order. She never seems to be injured or missing any feathers, but I do catch the some of the other birds pecking her when she tries to eat, including one other silkies.
She definitely did more foraging in the yard than the others since they'd chase her off from the feeder. I'd often feed her by hand away from the others to make sure she got food. Today, before she died, her crop felt very full and hard.(husband was worried she wasn't eating-- thought maybe she was weak from hunger, but she was very full). She'd been so happy lately since she was able to get out and away from the rest of the flock. She was hanging out with one of our Easter Eggers who flies out OVER the temporary fence and who was always nice to her.
Anyway, we miss Amy a lot and are very sad. Because she was picked on and tiny we hand fed her a lot and she was very tame and followed us around when we worked in the yard, and was very talkative with us. Her eggs tasted TERRIBLE, but she more than made up for it by being a sweet, affectionate little bird.
I mainly posted this to see if anyone has had a similar experience with these kinds of symptoms, fatal or not, as it makes me worry what my girls might be getting into in my yard.
However, I now realize that this has also turned into Amy's eulogy as well.
RIP little Amy-- I hope you are in chicken paradise and will get plenty of respect from now on, and no more pecking on.: )
Edited by Porch Chickens - 11/19/15 at 7:12pm