Near Tragedy

In Chicken husbandry on May 18, 2011 at 2:42 pm

May 18th

This won’t be a funny or entertaining post but maybe one that other novice chicken keepers can learn from.  Yesterday afternoon I had the girls in the yard in the bunny cage.  They were pecking in the grass enjoying the sun and I was checking on them frequently while I did housework.  I was filling their water jug when I heard a chicken sound I’d never heard before.  I ran to the back door just in time to see a feral cat race across the yard with a yellow bundle in her mouth. 

I yelled at the cat and chased her into my neighbor’s yard screaming at the top of my lungs.  As the cat leapt over Terri’s picket fence she dropped my little Daisy on the grass.  I got to her quickly and leaned over her still body.  She was bleeding and motionless.  Then she blinked.  I gently scooped her up into my arms and ran in the house with her.  I wrapped her in a dish towel and put her on the couch while I ran out to the yard to check on Violet and Rosie.  They were huddled in a corner of the cage.  The door was wide open.  Somehow the cat had managed to open it even though it has two clips on either side.  I quickly got them on the porch and locked the screen door. 

I ran back inside to find Daisy staring into space and making quiet little peeps.  I held her in the crook of my arm and called Jim.  He was on his way home from work and I told him to please hurry.  When he arrived he fixed up a cardboard box with shavings to isolate Daisy from her sisters.  We checked her wound and put Neosporin on it.  These were the instructions from the chicken book.  We put food and water in with her and covered her cage with a towel to keep her calm. 

The vets were all closed by this time and the emergency/after-hours vet did not have any experience with chickens but he offered to euthanize her if it came to that.  I helplessly waited thru the night until the veterinary offices opened this morning.  I checked on her several times during the night and she made little sounds so I knew she was still alive.  She was unable to stand or sit this morning and would not eat or drink.  I dipped her beak into her water dish and she seemed to get some down but would not drink on her own.  I was in the car with Daisy driving to the nearest vet at 7:00 am. 

The first receptionist was very kind and helped me give her some water with a small syringe.  None of the vets at the first place treated birds but she made several calls until she found one who thought she could help.  Kelly, I’m coming by later with a thank you gift.  Your kindness was overwhelming.  I arrived at the second vet and they were helpful and reassuring.  The Vet was a tall, lovely woman with the face of a twelve year old.  She handled Daisy gently and examined the wounds. Daisy was bitten above the shoulder pretty severely and she found another smaller wound under the wing.  Dr. Glasscock’s plan was to sedate Daisy, pluck the feathers around the bites, clean and dress the wounds and give her subcutaneous fluids while she was anesthetized.  They were warming up the incubator while she examined her. 

So, I sit here typing this and waiting for the phone to ring.  I know she’s just a chicken.  I had chicken for dinner two nights ago.  How can I care so much for a barnyard animal that until a month ago I would have described as a dumb, uninteresting creature?  She’s hurt because of me and I’ll never forget that even if she heals and recovers completely.  The pain and fear she felt all night and is feeling now is because I was careless.  A bunny cage is no match for a hungry cat.  Even though it was locked, and it was in my own fenced back yard in broad daylight, I should not have left them unprotected. 

 The coop is coming along nicely and my chickens will not be outdoors again until they are safely inside their new home.  It may be too late for poor Daisy, but Violet and Rosie will not suffer her fate.  I will certainly post news of Daisy (good or bad) as soon as I hear something.  I’m not certain that I can keep writing about my chickens if she dies.  Last night in a desperate attempt to feel some hope I asked Jim if he thought Daisy would be OK, knowing of course that he had no answers.  He hesitated and then said, “Sure Deb, she’ll be OK.  We need the eggs”.  I do love that man.

  1. Daisy might be a ‘bird brain’ but she knows your loving touch and that you are waiting for her. She will fight her best to come back to you! She IS Burlingame game, after all! I sincerely hope that the next news will be good news!

  2. Oh Lord, I thought I had stopped crying and you made the waterworks turn on full blast! Thank you Linda for your comforting words. They mean a lot. I’ll let you know something as soon as I hear.

  3. Feral cats are damn clever. They have to be.

  4. It’s so funny, just from reading about them every day, I feel like they are my little feathery cousins. 🙂 I hope she’s okay. I’m sending some good vibes down there, and I said a little prayer for her. 🙂 Keep us posted! Hugs and love to you!

    • Thanks for the good vibes for your little yellow cousin. Daisy is everyone’s favorite. I have a neighbor who loves her best just because she’s a little bit “slow”.

  5. Oh my! I just got caught up on the chicks and this broke my heart. I’m SO glad little Daisy is okay! I’m feeling attached to the little girls. Your chicken diaries always make me laugh, but this one brought tears to my eyes. Whew!

  6. Yep. It was a close one. She walked about 3 feet today without falling down. She can eat her food now without us holding the bowl directly under her beak. I think she will make a full recovery. I’ll tell her that Aunt Jill was concerned.

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