I went to milk Molly on Thursday and found one teat hard and swollen. My heart sank... mastitis and she has twins. What now ? So I slathered the teat in honey and cayenne pepper for the night and figured I'd call the vet in the morning for some antibiotics.
Thankfully by morning the teat was less swollen and the lambs were drinking from both teats. Both had honey and cayenne pepper on their noses so clearly it didn't deter them from looking for breakfast ! I'll continue to monitor the situation, but she's a healthy girl and the lambs can keep the milk moving so I have my fingers crossed.
Big Red, the rhode island red chicken, wasn't so lucky. I missed her at afternoon feeding on Friday and on recollection couldn't remember seeing her for breakfast. Big Red has always had a gammy leg, she walks like Quasimodo and runs like a boat on a big swell, but she's a real sweetheart and a good layer and her rooster makes sure the guinea fowl don't get away with harrassing her, so he must be fond of her too.
Well, I found her on her side under the shipping container, wedged where she couldn't get her feet under her. She was cold and had lost feeling in both legs and wings, and I was suprised she was alive. There was one egg behind her so she could have been there at least 24 hours, maybe up to 48.
I took her back to the house and cleaned her up and gave her food and water, which she devoured eagerly, and she started looking alot more cheerful. She came inside for the night, feet tucked under her in a basket lined with towels in the hope that warmth and proper position might help.
By morning she had regained the use of both wings and one leg, so I found a nice sunny spot and set her up with food and water in the hope she'd start to work on the other leg. Unfortunately it became clear the leg was gone. I guess it was one stress too many on legs that had never quite worked properly to begin with.
A chook that can't walk is the proverbial sitting duck. Raptors, crows, ants, foxes, blowflies, even other chickens. She can't even move away from her own waste, and she would have developed sores on her paralysed leg. So, tempting as it was to try and set her up in the house yard in a moveable cage, it was better to end it quickly for her than come home some time in the next few weeks and find her suffering.
RIP Big Red, I hope both legs work really well for you where you've gone and the grasshoppers can't outrun you now.