Unfortunately, I have another sick hen to report today. Jennifer, the white crested black Polish hen is not eating and lethargic and I’ve just separated her from the flock. I don’t know if my recent plethora of sick chickens has to do with the incredibly wet summer we’ve had, the fact that many of my hens are getting old, or a combination of things, but since each sick hen seems to have her own distinct illness it isn’t like they’re infecting each other.
Currently, Roxie the Red is still recovering from her illness and is occupying the small pen where sick chickens usually stay, and Emily the Silkie is brooding away in the broody coop. So I’m running out of places to put chickens! I had to drag my outdoor “chicken gazebo” into the pole barn and have set up a sick room for Jennifer there.
Jennifer’s illness appears to be respiratory – she’s breathing with her beak open as though she can’t get enough air. I did a throat swab to check for gape worms (more on gape worms later!) and there was no sign of worms, but there was some mucous. If you’ve ever had pneumonia, you know how it can knock you for a loop. Now imagine that your infected, congested lungs filled your whole body and you can imagine how Jennifer feels – birds' respiratory systems include not just their lungs but also five air sacs that are spread throughout their entire body cavity, and respiratory infections can involve the whole system. Jennifer, when she’s healthy, is as crazy and fun as one expects Polish hens to be, and the other hens and I are missing her antics. We’re all hoping she gets back on her feet soon. Here’s a small gallery of Jennifer pictures from happier times.
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