With a heavy heart, I took Delilah to the vet this afternoon, fully expecting to come home minus one chook. She was flat out in the box, gasping for air and generally looking at deaths door. The vet picked her up, examined her and made lots of 'hmmm, this doesn't look good' type noises. At this point, my stiff upper lip crumbled, and I made a bit of a prat of myself, sobbing over a chicken.
To my shock, the vet seemed pleased by her condition. He said that despite her obvious illness, her temperature was up, and that was good. A high temperature indicates an immune system response to infection. Delilah was giving it some!!! Mr. Vet seems fairly certain that D has mycoplasma, an extremely common respitory illness in poultry. Apparently, myco can put a hen off her feet, as the joints are swollen and painful.
He promptly injected her with something I've forgotten the name of, told me to keep syringing water into her beak at regular intervals and to give her a course of Tylan, an antibiotic.
I can't even begin to explain how delighted I was to leave that examining room with one live hen. She's not out of the woods by a long shot, but there is hope. And while there's hope, there'll be a vaguely deranged woman in a dressing gown, syringing sugar water into a pissed off hen at 9pm.