Being An Animal Owner

Or a pet owner or the parent of a ‘fur baby’or ‘feather baby’ isn’t always easy.  It isn’t always cute pictures of cute babies or funny stories of their fur/feathered antics.

This week has been a hard one in our household.

In addition to Abby losing one of her little Easter Egger babies,  another of my chickens, a Rhode Island Red named Riley, and our house cat Rama, are also sick.

Rama is a six year old black and white “tuxedo cat” we adopted as a kitten from the SPCA.  He has never been sick before, so last month when he started randomly vomiting all over the place, it was a thing of great concern.  He spent a week in the vet and came home with antibiotics that didn’t help him. Two more trips to the vet later, we discovered that his intestines were completed blocked.   He had to have surgery, and the doctor removed a portion of his intestines.

He may or may not come home tomorrow.

The doctor sent some samples out to biopsied.   The mass that blocked his intestines may or may not be cancer.   We won’t know until later this week.

And then, there is poor Riley.

She was sickly this summer, when the heat was so bad.  But then she rebounded and was still laying eggs, until she started molting, so I didn’t think much about her being sick this summer.  She’s always been one of the tamer, calmer,quieter birds and in a flock as big a mine, I just figured she was lower in the pecking order than others.  She has always hung back,gotten food after the others, etc.

About mid-week last week, I noticed that she’s been hanging back more. Not acting remotely normal. Walking slower, not making noise.  Still eating, but not a lot.

Thursday night, she didn’t go into the coop with everyone else.  I found her outside in the dark and had to pick her up and carry her into the coop.  I put her the bed and that’s where I found her Saturday.

I decided to put her in the dog crate I use for broody breaking and quarantining, and did some asking on my favorite chicken forum to find out what I could do for her, given her symptoms.

This was Riley on Friday. I gave her scrambled eggs to eat,which she gobbled down and some water with vitamin B 12 to help boost her immune system.   A friend on my forum suggested Neomycin, thinking that it was a bacterial infection.

On Saturday morning, I let her out with the flock for sunshine while I cleaned her cage and freshened her food and water.  She was moving around, acting more perky,but still not like herself.  I gave her boiled eggs twice that day and she gobbled them down.

I was encouraged, hoping she might bounce back given a couple more days.

Over night, things changed drastically. Literally.

First, the temperatures dropped from the 60’s to the 30’s and it snowed.

This morning, Riley was standing up and I let her out in the barn, cleaned her cage, gave her fresh food with the Neomycin and vitamin B 12, and then I went about my day.  I’ve been checking in on the chickens frequently during the day, and have been saddened because Riley seems to be failing where yesterday she was not.

The barn itself is not cold. It was mid-forties tonight at lock up, but since Riley is ‘in quarantine’ she is not snuggling with the others.

I put her in our brooder box, with a heat lamp,but she isn’t eating, and I feel that she may not survive the morning.

I gave her a good cuddle tonight at bedtime, but my heart is heavy today.

MORNING UPDATE:   😦   I was right, she did pass in the night.  I expected as much, but it is still a sad thing. 😦