How Did I Miss This?

Aka, the post in which I admit I’m not as observant as I’d like. 

A few posts ago, back in March, I posted that I had a possible broody hen.  Our little Maicey spent more than a week debating whether or not to commit to sitting on eggs, but in the end, did not.  

One of my constant readers, however, noted in the video I posted that Maicey was limping.  

I confirmed, yes she was, but I couldn’t find an injury and after a couple days of pretending to go broody, the limp had stopped.  

Flash forward to this week.  A couple of things have been happening. 

1) Both Felix and Luke has been ‘feeling their oats’ as we say.  That is, they are hormonal young cockerels trying to steal a couple hens away from big papa Dots or big brother Pip.  

2) Luke has become fixated on Maicey, much like Pip did Riley last year.  

3) There has been a noticeable change in Maicey’s behavior.  She’s not a shy hen normally, but is now skittish, running away from all the roosters, even Dots, hiding in corners, and squeaking like a scared rabbit whenever they approach.  This is not like her at all.

I thought over-mating, and have been debating that I can’t keep all four, and which two should be the ones to leave.  

I decided to put Maicey in the dog crate I use for medical separation or broody breaking, to give her a break from the elbows and hoping that, in her absence, Luke would find someone else to fixate on.  

Later on, yesterday, I took outside for supervised exercise, and just sat watching her and watching the others.  She sat on my lap for a while.  Luke came over and made a play for her attention and I told him to go away. 

He did, and she eventually got down off my lap in her own and went to forage.  

I watched her for a long time.  And then, I noticed her limping again.  She hasn’t done it for a while, but when Dots approached and tried to wing dance for her, she squeaked and ran, well limped away.  

So I go over, pick her up, and purely by chance, my hand brushed the underside of her fluff, down by the start of her legs.  

There was something hard and dried on.  I parted the fluff, and see – much to my horror- a huge gash in her side, just above her leg.  

I’ll post a picture in a minute, but let me warn you, it’s NOT pretty.  

I have been asking myself HOW did I miss that??? Never mind how it happened – we think a rooster spur injury, and are planning for Dots and Pip to get mani-pedis soon – but literally HOW DID I NOT SEE this big an injury on a chicken I handle every day?  How?  I can’t even – I don’t have words to describe the guilt I feel over missing it. 

I immediately took her into the house, plopped her in a sink of warm water and try to clean up around it so I can see.  

There is caked on dirt and other stuff, and something that looks like an advanced stage fungal infection.  All likely.  

It smells gross, it looks grosser.  

She stood rather still and took most of my efforts at cleaning rather well.  Maicey is good girl.  I kept telling her how sorry I was and how good she was being.  She really was.  Anyone else would have pecked me, scratched or tried to get away.  

I kept up until I hit a point where the deepest dirt was.  When I touched her there, she cried they squeaky rabbit cry, and tried to get out of the sink. 

A little cleaner, but that is where it hurts her the most. 😓

 My poor Maicey Grace!!! 

My inquires on Facebook yielded the possibility that this is a spur related injury.  

I’m treating with Scarlex Oil spray, vitamin B (orally) and if she continues to have pain, I can add penicillin and baby aspirin.  

She is going to be in the dog crate for a couple of days, but I will also be taking her out for supervised exercise, so I can ensure her safety.  

And yes, the boys with spurs are getting mani-pedis soon.  

I’ve also begun checking the other hens for injuries, now that I know where to look.  So far, this is just her.  

My poor Maicey after her bath/torture.

I’m still upset over not seeing this.  How do you just not see that big an injury on an animal you see and hold every day?  Maicey is one of the favs.  My lap hen who likes to sit in my lap and get petted.  How did it go undetected this long, especially when I checked her over back in March?  

I’ll keep everyone updated on her status, and how it heals.  

And also the Boys and their mani-pedis.  

8 thoughts on “How Did I Miss This?

    1. Well, I will tell you, I don’t feel like I’m doing a good job right now. First we lost Jolene and now Maicey’s unnoticed injury. It just makes me sad. Happy to say that she was in good spirits this morning when I went down to let the flock outside and clean their messes. I let her out of the cage and she walked out on her own, clucking at me the whole time, and then she ran away from me when I let her out to forage. Crossing my fingers that she will heal soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh no! You are in the wars! 😦 I don’t know if anything I say will make you feel better but I’m trying not to beat myself up when things like this happen too, so here goes. You will never catch everything wrong with chickens. Even the most experienced chicken keepers have things go wrong. That’s why they give good advice about what to do, because they’ve experienced those problems themselves. A lot. You have not failed, you have just learned how to treat a bad injury and what to look out for in the future. Maicey is still alive and will be feeling much better thanks to your intervention. Chickens are experts at masking pain and sickness, and injuries can be very hard to spot without giving the chicken a bath.

    I can join you in the problem corner because Mr Bingley has sour crop. I’m trying not to beat myself up for not noticing anything wrong with his crop when I held him before Easter and now he’s in chicken hospital spewing, resting and all by himself. Whatever caused the blockage and infection has not come out yet so he is still in danger. But, realistically, life is busy, especially when there’s family around and lots going on. We cannot watch our chickens 24/7 and symptoms of injury or illness can easily be mistaken for signs of moulting, broodiness and other ‘routine’ explanations. I wasn’t really thinking about an injury when I saw Maicey, I was thinking about bumblefoot. Your post is helpful for me too, as I will be aware of this type of injury as Mr Bingley’s spurs grow. Assuming he gets well again.

    I do hope Maicey heals up well. She is in good hands. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no! Mr. Bingley!!! Give him love from us here in the USA, okay? Hopefully, he too, will pull through okay.

      With the mani-pedis, we’re going to try using dog nail clippers to trim and a file to round down the edges. I’ve researched several methods and for Dots and Pip, those wil do well. Dots is my biggest ‘lap chicken’ and he will let me do almost anything to him. That will be easy compared to seeing Maicey through this injury.

      I’m slowly going through and checking all the hens, too. Some of my non-lap hens are annoyed with the intrusion and look at me like “what are you doing,woman?”

      I, honestly, was thinking bumblefoot, too. But I didn’t see anything wrong with her feet. But I fuss over their feet because of Dots’ and his bent toes. I’m always worried he will get bumblefoot. But so far, no one has.

      So I did check Maicey’s feet, and while I did not check her legs or back, I was holding her and I hold her a lot. but this wound was hidden in there, deep under her fluff.

      She’s been getting supervised trips outside, so she can still enjoy the sunshine and grass, but not be bothered by the boys. It’s hard because she likes Dots, and squatted for him twice this afternoon. I had to shoe him away. He doen’t understand.

      I think the Scarlex oil is helping her feel better, but I worry that is she lets them mate, she will re-injure it. So she needs to be supervised.

      I wish I had that separated breeding coop we discussed, because it would be the best thing for Maicey. A place to be separate from the boys while she heals.

      Thank you for the encouragement, and please know I’m pulling for Mr.B. You’ve gotten your flock through the cocci and Mareks. Hopefully, you can pull him through the sour crop, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aw, dear Maicey. Yeah, I would be keeping her away from the roosters until she is properly healed, which could be difficult. Could you construct some sort of temporary pen alongside the others? I was going to suggest getting a chicken saddle for her as well, to reduce chances of rooster injury in future, but I think they only cover the hen’s back. Maybe there’s something out there that covers more though? Those crazy knitted coats are starting to come to mind now hehe.
        I don’t know if we have anything like Scarlex oil here.
        Thanks for your thoughts. I’m doing what I can for Mr Bingley but there’s the unknown factor of what is happening to whatever he ate that caused the blockage. Will it come out? Will it damage internal organs? Remembering that I had to help pull Jane’s blockage out of her butt when she had sour crop, I am keeping a close eye on Mr Bingley! Sheesh these chickens! It’s like spinning the wheel of misfortune sometimes. Just as well they are so lovable and addictive.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. A saddle may be the right idea for later on. They are made in different sizes for different sizes of hens and I do have some in a drawer. I could put one on her and see if it covers enough to protect her wound area.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Replying again because I did not add… we do have the tunnels we made for last years’ brooder bunch. Before we integrated, I had them penned up on one side of the coop, with the tunnels as their outdoor access. It’s not a big area, and the only door is from inside the coop.

        I could put Maicey in there during the day, closed in with her water and food. She could scratch around and have visitors.

        Actually, I think I am going to try this tomorrow. She was acting so much better tonight at bedtime. I let her out to clean poop from her med cage and she was trying to get back into the coop, flying up like she wanted to be in the rafters or roost bar with them. She misses her companions. The tunnels could be a temp solution until I feel like she is healed enough. Sadly,though, should she lay eggs in there, Little Dude is no longer big enough to fit inside to go get them.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That’s a great idea! Is there any way you could cut a little door or two into the sides of the tunnels for reaching access? Though I suppose she could lay an egg anywhere. Glad to hear she’s doing a lot better.

        Liked by 1 person

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