Monday, January 9, 2012

Things You Never Thought You'd Do (warning: graphic)

Last night, I found the bird with pneumonia dying, so I had to put her down.  I'm not great at breaking a chicken's neck, so it took a bit for me to put her out of her misery.  I then noticed another bird not eating.  So, I put her in the bunny prison.

At this point, I really didn't know what was going on.  So, when I checked her today, I examined why she wouldn't stand.  Her toes were blackened and shriveled from frostbite!  None of my other birds have suffered frostbite, so this was completely weird.  The only thing I can think of is that it is wetter than usual and the weather has been pogoing between very cold and warm.  So, when I looked at her foot, I noticed half of it had broken away.

So, today I performed surgery on the bird with a pocket knife.  I cut four toes off where the frostbite met the living tissue.  And yeah, it was nasty.  I then cleaned her feet and applied antiseptic and bluekote, which is basically alcohol combined with blue dye to keep the birds from pecking at it.

What was odd was the obvious relief the bird felt.   She got back on her feet and started eating and drinking immediately.  I added antibiotic to the water tonight and both birds are eating and moving around.  One bird who was acting iffy, whose name is Java, flew out of the bunny prison and sat on my arm for a while.  I've been treating her with coccida meds, dewormer, and antibiotics, and thus keeping her out of the laying group (don't want to eat eggs from a chicken dosed with that!) for at least seven days after treatment. 

I'm not sure what to call my amputee.  She's quite trusting, given that she let me lay her on her back and chop off her toes.  She needs at least one more toe removed and possibly two more amputated at the knuckle.  After watching her move around with her less painful foot, I decided this was one of those things that I just never thought I'd do.  I mean, would you ever think of field amputations on a bird becoming part of your CV?

She's eating extra food, which is good.  She's very thin from not eating because of the pain.  Now, if she heals up okay, she'll be fine, with or without the ends of those toes.

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