Yesterday evening I got home to find another chicken sitting in the shavings in the bottom of the coop fairly motionless. She would respond to sound, but not much else. Instantly recognizing something was wrong, I scooped her up and headed to the house to get a better look at her. Realizing that she was really bad off, I made the decision to dispatch her humanely to reduce her suffering.
After setting the hen down on a soft spot in the yard, I headed to my shop to get a sharp knife. Looking back from the doorway, my poor hen flopped twice and then became still. After retrieving the knife, I discovered that my americana hen, Dove, had died.
This being the second chicken in as many days, really had me looking for answers. I had purchased a pouch of Oxytetracyline HCL at the local feed and seed last fall. I had never used it before, but I grabbed in on the off chance that a need would arise. Aside for the circumstances, I am glad I did. At the start of this year, most if not all antibiotics had regulations imposed by the FDA and even if its for chickens, it will require a presription.
My remaining birds started a round of antibiotics this morning which will continue for the next 7-14 days. Based on the information panel on the pouch and other sources the eggs during that time and the following 3 weeks should not be consumed by humans. So this past week, as a precaution, and the eggs for the next couple weeks will be scrambled shell and all and fed back to my chickens for the added protein and calcium.
It was exciting to see 13 chickens run about their run this evening after work. My flock, at least at this moment, seems very healthy and lively.
Have you ever had sick chickens? What was your course of action? Please comment.