Sunday, November 20, 2011
Help With Chicken Thoughts, Please?
Danni the hen with the bad leg is still hanging in there. I keep her separate from the other birds, in the infirmary coop. I feed her plenty of treats - veggies and fruits and grains and oatmeal - basically, she gets whatever she wants. Plus she gets enough chicken feed to feed the entire flock. During the day, if I'm home, I take her out for "walks" - I call it physical therapy for her. I attempt to force her to use her bad leg a little. She doesn't do well with walking or standing and prefers to sit. She comes into the house every night and hangs with me in the kitchen while I prepare her dinner and the family dinner. After we all eat, she goes back into her coop for the night, where she has her own heat lamp. Every night another hen named Jade spends the night with her, and they talk all night about girl things. Jade fills her in on what happened that day with the flock. Danni tells Jade about her adventures in the house.
Last night Danni actually hobbled across my kitchen floor on her own. She really doesn't use her right leg much, she sticks it out in front of her mostly. She balances on her left leg with both wings sticking out. To walk she sometimes ambles awkwardly on the right leg, but it still sticks out straight. Mostly she moves by using her wings to make her fly along the ground. Last night in the coop with Jade, Danni actually stood for a while on her good leg, right leg sticking straight out. But after a few minutes her good leg gets tired of balancing her, and she sits again.
I don't know how long this can go on. I have gotten very attached to Danni and it would break my heart to put her down. She cannot go back out in the flock with a bad leg. She would freeze just laying on the ground, as she can't walk. The roosters would hurt her trying to mount her. The other hens would pick on her. Randy tells me if she's not attempting to use the bad leg, then, well, it's time... She did make an attempt yesterday to use the leg, but she doesn't hold it properly. I always position the right leg back where it belongs underneath her during our therapy sessions, but if she controls the leg, it's sticking straight out in front.
So, what are your thoughts on this? I'm struggling. Is she going to get better? This week it will be 2 weeks since whatever happened to Danni to make her right leg stick straight out. She is eating fine, her spirits are good, the leg is not cold, so it's still getting blood to it. I just don't know... My brain tells me we can't keep a bird like this, but my heart tells me to give her more time.
at 7:46 AM