Holiday Horror with maggots

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Osiris, Sep 19, 2010.

  1. Osiris

    Osiris Hatching

    Nov 12, 2008
    My family and I returned from 3 weeks in Greece and learned from the "very experienced" petsitter I had hired that one of my hens had died very quickly, with "no apparent illness or strange behavior" This woman had taken 'Peggy' to my vet on discovering her dead in the hutch in the morning, and the vet had kept the body in his freezer for me. I was horrified on opening the bag containing Peggy's body, to find a huge mass of maggots at the base of her vent area .Indeed, a hole an inch wide allowed me to look into the body cavity, the tissue of her rear being completely gone! I think she had a condition called "fly strike" sometimes found in rabbits and sheep, wherein filth flies lay their eggs in manure or a wound, hidden by the fluff of feathers or wool, and the maggots hatch and begin eating into the animal. A google search found some poultry keepers have found this condition on birds they kept who had a "messy bottom" condition, and found live birds being invaded by active colonies of maggots. The birds did not exhibit any abnormal behavioral symptoms, even when quite infected!!
    Please, this is a horrible way to die and so preventable. My little Domonique was a dear lap hen, past laying age, and sometimes still passed a poorly formed/shelled egg. I would sometimes find the residue of this egg remnant protruding from her vent, pull it out, and give her a good hosing with the sprayer wand at the kitchen sink. I do not think the caretaker I hired was observant, for Peggy must have had this invasion for at least a few days before she expired. Since Peggy had to be lifted into the hutch at night (she had only one good leg, which was over-developed and strong, but precluded such a high jump into the hutch) I can not imagine how the woman could have picked her up with all those maggots and failed to notice SOMETHING!!
    Any birds in a flock which may have a tendency for "poopy bottom or a hen that has had diarrhea as a result of sickness needs close attention to the vent area, cleaning thoroughly with warm water and drying with a towel. Needless to say, this petsitter will not be on my list anymore. She also failed to secure my other hens in the henhouse each night as I discovered on the night we returned and found them roosting in the trees in my yard. I spent 90 minutes rounding them up in the dark with a flashlight, and on calling her the next morning to find out why she didn't follow my EXPLICIT instructions,, she blithely said "oh, it was so hot in the henhouse, they were in the trees!"
    I suspect this happened more than once, as each evening they are still trying to roost in the trees and I think they got habituated. This has never happened before. It has been a nerve-wracking and sad time---one of my house bunnies also expired in somewhat mysterious circumstances during this time away.
    Word to the wise, be VERY CAREFUL of people who say "don't worry! Everything will be fine!" and yet looking back, I now detect that I did not pay attention to a certain arrogance of comment and seeming lack of close attention when we walked through the daily routine with the petsitter. I had prepared EVERYTHING to be carefully laid out and clear, both written and verbal, and she still gravely messed it up.
    Susan Rudnicki Manhattan Beach CA

  2. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I'm sorry you lost Peggy. I think you right to look for another pet sitter.

  3. I am SO sorry for your loss. I am dealing with maggots in a wounded hen's wound right now and have to watch it constantly and flush it out, etc. When I was young we lost our beloved husky dog while we were on vacation from fly strike and they did the same thing, killing him bef. we ever got back. HERE'S AN IMPORTANT FACT: Beware of your petsitters. There are good and bad out there. With our economy right now I notice in our area lots of people saying they are petsitters so they can earn extra money. Get references from people they have sat for ask lots of questions. I also find, even the experienced ones around here, will get the opinion they know more about the animals than you and do "their own thing" no matter what the instr. are. I do limited petsitting for people in our area and always follow their instr. as they know their animals best. When I use a petsitter, I have had ones not really paying attention to my instr. and know they will do their own thing, and some have, which really upset me. Its good to also see if they have any "medical experience" either in human or animal care. I was in nursing for 26 yrs. getting medical experience and have had mult. types of animals, horses, llamas, chickens, ducks, parrots, dogs & cats of course, so feel confident in caring, giving pills, meds. etc. when needed. Make sure they know the type of animal they will be watching, i.e., horses (in case of a case of colic, etc.). I once had a goat I was watching go into labor at night (she wasn't due for 2 wks and they assured me she won't have her baby). When I arrived for AM feeding, she was way back in the pasture and on checking, she had a dead baby peeking out. I pulled the baby and watched her. She stayed lethagic so I checked her just in case she had another baby inside, and low and behold, there was so I packed her up to the vet. She would have died had I not been observant and just thrown food out and left. CK YOU PETSITTERS AND MAKE SURE THEY HAVE GOOD REFERENCES!!! In my eyes, their pets are as important as my pets are to me and I want them comfortable as poss. while their beloved humans are away. Sharon
  4. IcarusSomnio

    IcarusSomnio Songster

    Apr 27, 2010
    Vernon County, MO
    I had flystrike on newborn ratties once [​IMG] The doe I had was extremely hard to get pregnant, she was essentially sterile with a one in a million chance of catching and carrying. She had two kits on the wire in the night and when I came out the next day...worst thing I have ever seen. I put them both down immediately. The mother lived to the dear old age of two in a half before passing. Never had another litter after that.

    But you'd really have to be blind to not see maggots falling off the chicken. I nearly went into orbit when I found out I had a small patch of Alsike clover in a corner of my pasture where my horses don't even go. ANYTHING wrong with ANY of my animal is dealt with promptly. Even the smallest scratch can lead to a serious infection.

  5. animalover

    animalover Chirping

    Jul 30, 2010
    Harrisburg, PA
    I am so sorry for your loss. Two years ago we had to attend an out-of-state wedding that required us to leave early in the morning, and not return until after midnight. I run a small dog rescue, so I hired a well-recommended petsitter. I had her come to the house, and went through the routine of what she was to do. I also left detailed typed notes. She was supposed to come at 10 AM, 3 PM, and 7 PM. I called her from the event at noon and got no answer. Called again at 2 - no answer. Panicking now, I called again at 3. She said she couldn't get into the house - the key didn't work. She had my number - shy didn't she call me? Upon further questioning, I realized she was trying to get in the front door, while the key was for the back door. (I even had her unlock the back door as part of my tutorial)! Imagine my surprise when we got home and found all the lights left on, and the kitchen door WIDE OPEN (fortunately it goes to a fenced yard). Never again will I trust someone with my precious animals.
  6. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    So sorry for your hardships and your losses. My petsitter is worth his weight in gold. I really appreciate him all the more when reading posts like this.
  7. TeamChaos

    TeamChaos Songster

    Nov 8, 2009
    Oh what nightmares! I am sorry to all involved for such stress- on the humans and the animals. After my aunt let my dogs run away in the middle of a snowstorm while we were out of town for an emergency with my husband's family, we thought we'd be safe and board them. Imagine my surprise when I watched both of the dogs scale the fences of their runs and come to greet my car when I came to pick them up. The owner of the kennel told me that on the first day both dogs climbed their fences and joined him for his morning chores- bless his heart for deciding to keep my dogs inside his own house each night and just bring them out to "kennel up" in the morning- still, so scary!

    I have two little dominiques and they are indeed the sweetest lap chickens- your Peggy will be remembered!

  8. BayouPoules

    BayouPoules Songster

    My heart is broken for you and your little hen.
  9. Princess Poppycock

    Princess Poppycock In the Brooder

    Sep 12, 2010
    So sorry for your sweet girl. This is one reason why we never go anywhere! [​IMG]

  10. i am so sorry to hear about your little girl. that stinks. I cant understand why some people dont have the brains to do the right thing. I guess I am lucky on my petsitting neighbor boy. I came home from a 3 day vacation to find him curled up and asleep in my coop with my girls!!! (he's only 9) I swear they gained weight in those 3 days.....

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