She’s been doing OK today, although I think a little stir crazy in her crate and pacing a lot. I think really really would appreciate being with her sisters. I might go in there and just hold her for a while to see if that helps, in the past couple days the only contact she’s had with anyone is when we show up to cram meds in her face.
I went down a nerdy thought-rabbit hole this morning just thinking about bones/connective tissue/collagen more generally and was thinking some about how bone broth kind of made a splash (no pun intended...OK that’s a lie) for recovery in athletes and had the idea of adding unflavored, unsweetened gelatin to her diet to see if that might help her recovery. I poked around a little in the literature and came upon this study, so I emailed the avian folks to see if they thought that could be helpful at all. I wonder if anyone’s done that with their birds here in BYC-land and could comment? I’m waiting to hear back from the vet before I just launch in and do it in case there’s some random counter indication, but I kinda like this idea.
I think better than she was, but it’s a little hard for me to tell... We have a recheck at the avian vet on Sunday (I think? I’ll have to confirm) and I suspect they’ll take another batch of xrays. She’s very, very sick of crate confinement, though. We were giving her her pain meds last night and Connor was holding her using a towel to keep her wings swaddled down and she squirmed out of his hands and climbed up onto his wrist to perch which surprised us both. She didn’t try to fly down or anything, but did flap her wings (and noticeably both flapped! When this all started the right was limp at her side) while scrambling onto his wrist. I’m surewe are supposed to discourage even that amount of wing usage but she sort of caught us off guard.
I’ve also a couple times during the day swaddled her in a towel and walked her around the yard so she gets a little more stimulation than just sitting in the crate endlessly. And while keeping her apart from the other birds carried her closer to the hardware cloth wall of their enclosure so they can see each other closer up. I’m hoping that’s helping with how restless she is. I do see her pacing her crate a lot, especially when I’m visiting the other birds.
So, I think generally she’s doing better? We’ll know more at her recheck appointment of course, and I’ll report back with that. She’s tolerating her meds well (and the folks at the avian vet suggested concealing the pills in squeezy cheese, which is something we used a lot when I worked in vet med but for dogs and cats, it would never have occurred to me that a chicken would be motivated by squeezy cheese!)
Thank you again for all the kind words and support!
Update on my little buddy: recheck exam today at the avian vet! Apparently she seems to be about 95% of the way there but we want to check again in two weeks and still keep her quiet in the crate. She did still react like she’s painful when the DVM palpated the wing and, go figure, didn’t react one way or the other when he palpated the other wing for comparison so we are continuing with her meloxicam and gabapentin for the time being. No xrays today.
We’re still to keep her in the crate, as said, but he did encourage us to let her have supervised visits with the other chickens (good, because I actually already started doing that the other day) to help them reintegrate. He didn’t say one thing or another about whether it seems like she’ll have a functioning wing when this is over so we are still planning on modifying the coop (which we’ve done a bit off and on since this started but incidentally we’ve also been busy). He did note that when the affected wing is folded at her side her flight feathers actually stick out rather than tucking under so he’s a little concerned that the other birds might see that and gang up on her. So, encouraging all around but we still have a ways to go.
Hmmm, I have a new theory based on something I observed this morning about what could have specifically happened to little Goga that caused her to break her wing (and might mean a bunch of different coop design modifications... sigh. The fun of retrofitting an existing shed into a coop and finding all the new and novel ways chickens can hurt themselves in it that you didn't anticipate).
This morning I went in quite a bit earlier than I have previously (sleep issues, fun) and found the three who are still in the main coop up on the roost bar, ordinarily by the time I'm up for the day and go out there to check on everyone and start the breakfast parade they're already milling around scratching and such. While I was there watching I saw Queenie (my biggest and bossiest of the flock, an Austra White) turn and just start walking down the roost bar and ignoring the fact that there was another chicken in the way (Velociraptor, my other Speckled Sussex) and pushed past Velociraptor, knocking her off the bar. Velociraptor fell to the floor and landed on her back. I scooped her up and looked her over and she seemed fine (honestly more put off on being picked up as she's the shiest of my birds).
Before Goga broke her wing they had chosen the rafters at the top (maybe about seven-ish feet off the ground) to roost. After Goga's broken wing my husband blocked off those rafters by stapling a bunch of cardboard up on them. The birds were visibly confused and distressed at first and ended up spending that first night kind of in a big chicken-puddle together on the top of this shelf that was a part of the original shed. Spouse then pried off the top board of the shelf to expose the beams which are the right width for roosting and then sanded them down to be smooth and splinter-free and that's where the birds have been roosting since, and even still this new roost set up is maybe about 5 and a half feet off the floor, I'm not sure. That's the distance that Velociraptor fell this morning. I suppose it's possible that little Goga could have gotten crowded off the rafter while roosting and fell those seven-ish feet and maybe hit something on the way down? There's of course no way of knowing but I'm now wondering if we want to take the shelving that's now a roost down even further than before. Sorry, birds. I know you were super thrilled about the rafters and made do with the modified shelf-roost, but clearly all this luxuriant vertical space is causing problems.
Or, maybe we could just extend out the top of the shelf below the current roost by a couple feet so if a bird gets pushed off, she'll be able to catch herself a foot or so below?
Anyway, just some ramblings and thoughts. Maybe at some point I'll take some clearer photos of the set up they have and see if anyone has any suggestions. And maybe Queenie should do a stint in Solitary after Goga makes "parole" or something.
Goga's doing OK, also... No real changes since my last update physically, except for seeming to be dropping more tail feathers lately. I'm wondering if in her confinement she's gotten so restless that she's starting to pull them out? Either she's pulling them out or she's having another feather turnover in her growth, they're 16 weeks old now so I don't know if they typically have a big feather turnover at this phase or what? If she is pulling them out maybe I should add some food puzzles or other enrichment things to her crate, and hope that she'll stop when she gets to move back into the main coop. I don't know if other folks know if that's a normal 16-week phase thing or have other suggestions.
Here we have birds roosting eight or nine feet up on the rafters, some four feet up on roosts, and some three feet up in another section of the coop on roosts.
I think that more choices and more roost space is best always, and won't block off the rafters, thinking them 'too high'.
We don't have giant SQ Jersey Giants, who probably wouldn't do well there, and that's one reason we don't have them. The hatchery JGs we've had were smaller, okay with us.
Once we had a bantam break her neck overnight, probably flying into a wall. We also haven't had outbreaks of bumble foot, or broken bones.
I do think your bird was just unlucky, young, and flew into something in the coop, just one of those things.
Some individuals are just accident prone, and she's very lucky to have you!