Pippi is sick and we’re not sure if she’ll make it through the night or even the day.
I noticed her acting a bit strangely on Saturday when we were out gardening, but I didn’t think much of it.
However, on Sunday, she was definitely not herself. She was pretty lethargic, moving slowly, and tended to hang out under one of the wire mesh protected areas that Ron built to give the hens an escape route in case of hawk attack. She sipped some water from the grass leaves, but she wasn’t doing much else.
We decided to put her in the cat kennel in the stove room in the basement Sunday evening. It’s also known as the chicken sick bay since that’s where White Tail spent the second night of her reprieve after the great hawk attack of November 2015.
When we put Pippi down there, I opened the door to check on her. She peeped at me, ate several teaspoons of chicken crunchies from my hand, and sipped a little water. I took all this as a good sign.
She wasn’t, however, much improved Monday morning. Ron put her in the greenhouse in the kennel for much of Monday. Again, we brought her back into the basement Monday night since it was supposed to be a low of 37 F last night. I was hoping that she’d be doing better by this morning, Tuesday.
Unfortunately, she seemed worse–more lethargic, less interactive, more labored breathing.
We decided to put her in the chicken coop for the day. Ron made a little ground nest for her on the hay. He plunked her there and she didn’t move since. I checked on her twice. She seemed the same, if not worse. More labored breathing. For the first visit this morning, she didn’t open her eyes at all. Mid-morning, she was doing this strange small head shake. They do this in winter when they are cold. I’m not sure if she’s cold or having mini seizures.
She’s been really poofed out since Sunday so I wonder if she’s cold. The poofy feathers make her look a lot bigger than she really is. Longtime readers might recall that Pippi is named Pippi because she was a little pip squeak when she was a chick. Seeing her all fluffed up makes me extra sad because she’s not her normal self.
We don’t know what to do. She’s not getting better. She might be getting worse. We’re not going to call the vet for her. Ron just moved her onto a hay nest in the greenhouse so she’d have quiet by herself. The other chickens haven’t been bugging her (or worse!?), but you never know.
Chickens are (just) chickens, but as we’ve had new creatures in our lives (not just domesticated cats), it’s apparent that humans are way too arrogant. Even chickens have funny little personalities and differences. And they deserve a good quality of life. We owe them that. Unfortunately, way too many animals are raised in the animal-industrial complex and have horrible lives. We know Pippi has had a good little chicken life on our farm, but it’s still hard to see a critter ill and we don’t know what to do.