Ok, this is a highly disturbing story. If you choose to read it, don't say I didn't warn you.
I have a 3.5 week old unknown feather footed bantam. At two weeks of age he had this weirdness happen, here's the story.
So thankfully I keep my chicks in the living room. Early one morning I heard cheeping loudly, well, I could tell from its voice it was one that has been a big cheeping baby since day one, I recognize him by his or her voice!
However this cheeping was different. I leaped out of bed, my two dachshunds wild with excitememt, running ahead of me and peering into the brooder. I get there, hot on their heels. So there the loudmouth is, in the corner, cheeping at the top of his little lungs. He always cheeps loudly, so at first I didn't think anything much was wrong. I pick him up and look at his wings, they are fine, I look at his feet, they are fine, I feel up his fat warm body, perfect. This bird is extremely tame as I am always examining him since it cheeps so much all the time. Hmm nothing looks wrong. He's still cheeping.
Oh! A bit of hay is in his eyes from yesterday's treat. But I tug it and it doesn't give at all. Its hard, it's not hay it's something metal and pointy - sticking in his tear duct. What in the world! I pull it a little more and it gets longer.
OH. MY. GOODNESS... it is a NEEDLE! I feel sick. That poor baby. I stop pulling immediately of course. I feel his little neck, I can feel the needle, at the crop I can feel it is the kind with a plastic ball on the end! So my immediate thought had been- how did it get a needle in his eye, like ran into it or something...? But it has a ball on the end, it couldn't of stabbed him. He must have swallowed the needle by the ball.
I imagine that poor baby bird seeing a deliscous white pearl, peck, pecking it up and then down, not knowing the pain to come. The ball of the needle goes down into his crop. Then he must of eaten more food because now I can feel the crop is full, the ball of the needle raised up by the food. It must have pushed the needle up, the only place for its sharp tip to go. It went through the roof of his mouth and out the corner of his eye, narrowly missing his actual eyeball.
So at 2 weeks if age, it managed to find and swallow a needle, the kind you pin sewing projects with, with a ball on the end.
I have no idea where it came from. Was it in the food somehow from the factory? Did it somehow get stuck on someone's clothes then fall into the pen when they looked in? When I had my toolbox out making the Brooder was it in my jumbled up tool box and fell out into the bottom of the Brooder to be scratched up later? That is what I think happened. It's probably my fault.
My stomach has sunk, my heart heavy. I feel nauseated. Surely I have to put this poor baby chick, my favorite of them all, down. He is crying and suffering. I hold him in one hand and Google what to do. No information except about some chickens swallowing nails, staples and screws, and sticks, etc. None of which have come out the eye. Plus none were babies.
I look at my bird. I don't want to put him down. I grasp the tip of the needle again, he doesn't scream any worse when I pull it. There is no way to push it down and back out through his mouth, but I can try one thing. I pull the needle out through his tear duct, now the ball of the needle is at the base of his throat, I can see it. I pivot the needle and quickly push the ball out his beek and pull from the ball end. THE NEEDLE IS NOW OUT! The bird immediately stops crying! There is NO blood at all. I dont know how, but I thank God that it didn't go through his eye and I was able to get it out.
Now what? Surely he will get infected and swollen in his eye and have to be put down anyway. He isn't in pain any more at least. I do some more research and then give him a dropper of a tiny amount of crushed aspirin and crushed garlic, in water. The aspirin for the pain, the garlic for inflammation and to fight infection. I do some more research and decide yes, he does need penicillin. So off to the feed store for that and a different kind of needle. I give him a shot for 3 days.
This amazing bird, now named Frankenstein, has never had pain since, I gave him aspirin for 2 days too just to be sure. His eye never got even slightly swollen. I did have to give him water in a dropper for 2 days before he would drink, and also some egg yolk mixed with more garlic and his chick starter feed, softened in hot water and all smashed up so it wouldn't hurt his surely sore throat. In the middle of day 2 he started eating and drinking on his own again.
Now it is 1.5 weeks later, he is back in with his brothers and sisters for a over a week now and perfectly fine. I am so glad I didn't put him down. I would have never thought he could make a recovery so that his eye is completely undamaged, and no infection. His eye is clear and fine, he is not blind.
Frankenstein sure squawked alot during his 3 and a half days seperate from the flock. He had to be seperate and quarantined so his drinking water and food would stay extra super clean since his wound was in his throat. He made me amazed at what crazy things a helpless chick can get into and still survive. I hope he ends up being a girl though.
First pic is him on the far right the day he went back to the flock,
Second is him today after I checked his feet after removing mud balls yesterday (more trouble he had gotten into)
And the third is the offensive needle, a giant one, the white 2 inch one at the bottom with 2 more common sized ones above it for comparison.
What do you think? What would you have done if this happened to you? Please share some of your crazy chicken tales too.
Update, he, or she, is still doing good, big and fat already.latest pic is the last one.
"The needle in a haystack" Weird injury for a baby chick
Bantam chick swallows a foreign object, a needle that comes out through his eye! It is able to be removed and chick lived with no infection or eye...