Thursday, 25 September 2008

Sick Chick – do not read on if squeamish

At the start of September I noticed that one of my hens was looking decidedly dejected. Dejected enough that I could easily catch her and pick her up and the first thing I noticed was that she smelt. Then I noticed the maggots – ugh I hate maggots but I couldn’t let them eat her alive. So it was off to the Internet, as my chicken books don’t mention anything about maggots.

I was lucky and found someone who had posted about her chicken having the same problem. Sadly she had to put the chicken down but her blogging about it meant that someone else who had dealt with the same problem successfully contacted her and she passed on the information; blogging at its best.

So I sat said chicken in a bath of warm water with some betadine/iodine scrub. Iodine doesn’t kill maggots but they don’t seem to like it and very quickly I could see loads of maggots floating in the water.

Having suitably gloved my hands I picked what I could out of the water with tweezers and then, after lifting out the hen, disposed of the remaining ones in the bowl. I repeated the iodine bath and got a couple more out, by then the hen was totally bored with being immersed in water and had had enough. I turned her upside down and saw a large hole beneath her vent. Filling this with the neat iodine solution brought a couple of embedded maggots to the surface where I quickly caught them with the tweezers.

I kept her in isolation for a few days and repeated the iodine treatment and thankfully there were no more maggots and the hole started to heal. I then realised what the smell had been, it was the same as when the abscess on one of the cats had burst, so I surmise that she had injured herself and the abscess had formed.

After a good week she seemed fine and I let her back out with the other hens, then yesterday I saw she was sitting with the two broody hens and when I picked her up, there was that smell again and a few maggots.

So the last couple of days have been a repeat of the iodine treatment. She’s perked up a lot faster than last time but I’m not sure the hole is going to ever heal properly although it is a lot smaller than last time. So this could be an ongoing occurrence with me having to catch her regularly and check for infection or maggots.


Barbara Martin said...

You did very well with your hen. It takes time to clean out an abscess to get it to heal. What a good bird to allow you to put it into warm water.

Georgina said...

Well done Deborah! Super Vet! Debs x

jimmycrackedcorn said...

Keep in mind that maggots will *NOT* eat living tissue and are an old-time survivalist method of avoiding gangrene and cleansing a wound.

dND said...

Hi Barbara, She's not out of the woods yet but I'll keep trying with her. I love your photos btw, they are stunning.

Hi Debs, I'll never make a real vet, far to squeamish. Hope the packing is going well.

Hi JCC, I thought that too but some fly lave do eat living flesh. Thankfully I found that out on my Google search otherwise I would have been tempted to let them eat and fall off when there was no more dead flesh. As it was I had to remove some maggots that were buried right into the flesh, luckily the iodine brought them partially out so I could tweezer them.

Anonymous said...

We had to treat our cat when she had an abscess. The vet gave us what I think was an iodine solution and for 10 days, twice a day, we had to force the abscess open and squeeze in the iodene. The abscess had been the size of a small fist. A grusome job but it worked on the cat and she healed well. The idea was not to let the wound heal over until the infection was completely gone. Sounds like you are doing the right thing with your chicken.

dND said...

Hi Laura, Thanks for your info - I'm going to keep her separate for longer this time and see if the hole looks like it will heal properly this time. Gruesome as it may be, the maggots will have left good flesh that should be capable of healing. Until then I'll be continuing with the iodine.

Living the Dream said...

Well done you, I'm sure it wasn't easy, especially keeping the hen in warm water. Lovely to catch up with your news.