Thursday, 6 January 2011

Doris, Again

Well, isn't this nice. Doris is now bubbling at both eyes. No signs of respiratory distress (wheezing, coughing etc). If I put my ear to her back there's no scary bubbling sounds. Her face doesn't smell bad, and here nostrils are clear. There is no swelling apart from some slight inner eyelid irritation. None of the other hens seem remotely symptomatic. I could scream.

I last treated Doris for something very similair at the beginning of last November. The vet prescribed Baytril, and I had to bribe my lovely chicken sitter with a bottle of good Merlot to fire the medicine down Doris's throat three times a day. It was a tad stressful for all concerned. I am quite disheartened to find myself back at square one.

Doris is one of four hens that I bought from one breeder. The others were Delilah, Belinda and Mini. Can you spot a connection there? Yep, the other three are all ex-hens, and were within a year. They all died of different conditions and cost a significant amount of money to treat. I thought that perhaps we'd got lucky with Doris. However, within weeks of bringing her home initially she'd had an eye issue. On and off, there have been flare ups of spotty eyelids and bubbling. I can only assume that Doris has dormant myco which comes to the fore when she is stressed/under the weather anyway. Since the New Year I have been adding various tonics and supplements to the girls' feed and water in an effort to ward off the nasties. I am still waiting for the colloidal silver to arrive.

So now I am once again contemplating the vet and  yet another course of Baytril. This is not really a good or smart move. I am loathe to go down the route I did with my beloved Mini, spending months and literally hundreds of pounds attempting to cure something which was ultimately uncurable. If I was a breeder, I'd probably be thinking of dispatching Doris off to that big coop in the sky. And yet. Yet, she is a pet. She has been with me now for two and a half years. I cannot and will not see her in pain or suffering. So when I finish this post, I will once again phone the vet. I will attempt to convince him to prescribe the Baytril without making me and a poorly hen trek down to the surgery. If I am successful, I will spend the next seven days wrapping Doris in a towel and forcing meds down her reluctant throat. I will do all this and hope that it works. And all the time I will know that it is probably pointless. That she will probably get ill again. That I am possibly risking the rest of my flock.

Sorry for the depressing post, but I am feeling really quite disheartened.


  1. If there are no other signs of respiratory distress, would a course of chloramphenicol to her eyes help? You can buy it over the counter (but don't tell the pharmacy it's for a hen!).

  2. Good idea, but the fact that both eyes are now bubbling makes me think we are talking about some infection. She is now head shaking :/ The vet has prescribed Baytril, so the ever tolerant husband will collect it on his way home this evening. Fingers crossed, eh?