Mini is sick again. Just over a week ago, I noticed her wheezing. This was dreadful timing, as we were going away for a long weekend the following day. I dosed the water with Tylan, informed my chook sitter and reluctantly left her and hoped for the best.
When we returned, I was delighted to hear that her chest had cleared up, and she was back to making her 'brum' noises. One of her eyes looked a little gunky, but I assumed it would clear up in the next day or two. It didn't.
Over the next 48 hours, Mini's eye became increasingly swollen. On examination, it appeared that her inner eyelid was very swollen and inflamed. So, off to the vet we went. Again.
The vet ummed and aahed, and confessed to not knowing much about chickens (does anyone?!). I held Mini firmly while the vet had a good look at the swelling. With barely a hesitation, she grabbed what I thought was a part of Mini's eye and pulled. I learned that hens can scream. It turns out that what I had assumed was a physical part of Mini was in fact solidified pus. Lovely. The eye swelling was instantly gone, and she peered at me with a blood shot and sore looking eye. The vet duly prescribed Baytril, and off we toddled.
All was going well, and I thought we might be in the clear. Until yesterday. Until Maeve.
Maeve detected a weakness in her flock mate, and took advantage. She set about Mini with a viciousness which was truly depressing. Both of Mini's eyes were targeted, and she has cuts on both eyelids. I brought the hen inside to bathe her wounds, and at that point discovered two small critters on Mini's neck. Lice, I presume. Great.
Taking my mite spray, I methodically sprayed each complaining hen. Maeve was banished to solitary, and can still be seen pacing in the greenhouse. I cleaned out the coop, smothering every surface with mite powder. I dressed the feed with poultry spice, and also added ACV to the water. Every little helps, to plagiarise a well known supermarket.
The other hens are ignoring Mini, which is quite normal. Last night, when I went out to give Mini her evening dose of medicine, her eye was gummed shut. I unstuck it, and she peered blearily at me. It was the same this morning. She is currently sat huddled in the border.
Time will tell.