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Cuckoo for Coco Puff

You win some, you lose some is a saying that I’ve found to be especially true when it comes to chickens and the illnesses that befall them. I am very happy to report that this time around we won one! I noticed about a week and a half ago that Coco Puff was not well. Her crop (a bulge in the esophagus where food is stored before it is digested) was not emptying overnight as it should, and she was not eating or pooping. This can sometimes happen when chickens eat too much or eat something that takes them a little longer than usual to digest, so I thought I’d wait a few days and see if the issue would work itself out. It wasn’t long before I noticed that our usually social and talkative Coco Puff became withdrawn. She would stand in the corner of the coop hunched over for hours not responding to calls for treats or interacting with Millie or Lil’ Red Rooster. I became increasingly worried that this was something she could not recover from without intervention so I decided it was time to take her to the vet. Although there are closer avian vets to us than the Avian Medical Center in Lake Oswego, this is the only avian vet that I have come to trust and that understands chickens and knows how to diagnose and treat them. This vet is very well known and respected among the backyard chicken keeping community, and as a result it can be a challenge to get an appointment on short notice. After speaking with the vet she told me to bring Coco in for an emergency drop-off as soon as possible.

We brought her in last Monday, and she spent two nights at the vet. They diagnosed her as having a kidney infection which had shut down her digestive system. They injected her with antibiotics, gave her a laxative, and tube-fed her with a high nutrient liquid food. After two days at the vet she was doing better, although she still was not eating much. The vet asked us if Coco had friends that she liked to hang out with that may encourage her to eat if she was in their presence while the other chickens were eating. Apparently the vet’s office chicken did not quite know what to make of Coco Puff and her crazy feather hat and was not exactly friendly toward Coco Puff. I said yes that she did have a little family that would be happy to be reunited with her. We picked her up on Wednesday, along with a 5-day course of antibiotics. I have to say that giving a chicken a pill by mouth twice a day is not the easiest task, but there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for our Coco Puff. Every day she has been steadily improving so it’s all been worthwhile. Many of the chickens here at the farm would not be so lucky as Coco Puff as to get a $280 trip to the vet, but she is one of our best girls, and it just wouldn’t be the same at the farm without her!

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