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#76087 - 02/28/05 09:19 PM Accidental Chicken


We've been thinking of getting chickens for a while now, and Providence has provided us one! A stray bird wandered into our neighborhood over the weekend so we got her out of the busy street and into our backyard. The coloring is closest to a Columbian Plymouth Rock.

She(?) seems very tame and used to people, but her feathers are pretty ratty, the tip of her beak is broken, and she's exhibiting signs of an upper respiratory illness based on the internet research I've done so far (bubbly discharge around eyes, some dried discharge around nostrils). Her behavior seems pretty normal, she's feeding well, exploring the yard and eating my overwintered turnips, preening and roosting at night. We've got her snug in a large sheltered vari-kennel with woodshaving litter, food and teramycin in her water. Is there anything else we should be doing to improve her health? I've seen a lot of horrid diseases on various websites as I've been researching how to help her; should I be concerned about more than a cold if she's not coughing/sneezing and seems to be behaving normally?

She's been with us about 48 hours now and hasn't crowed (although she's been pretty vocal) or laid an egg, so we really don't know whether she's a boy or a girl. Is there any easy way to tell her sex and/or age?

Thanks for any tips you want to send my way. I'm glad to have found this resource!


#76088 - 02/28/05 10:04 PM Re: Accidental Chicken
HD Chick Offline

Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 137
Loc: Wyoming
How exciting to have a chicken fall to your care. Wonder if she fell from a truck on the way to slaughter... ya just never know, it does happen I've read it here at the Coop! laugh Sounds like she has been debeaked, common for the Battery Hen too. She may be around 2 if this is the case and she may not lay really good as her rough life is suppose to be short lived. Some turn out to be eggcellent and loving (thankful) birds! I have wanted to rescue (but it's just not very advisable).
Layer Ration/Mix for Chicken is the best source of the "right ingredients".
Look here:

Hope that it helps. Also, the Search at the top right is very helpful for old posts (thousands) Good luck with your new pet and keep us posted.

I am afraid that if she is very sickly you will not be able to introduce her any friends until you are absoultely positive there are no known diseases or virus' in this bird 1st. Best of luck and welcome to the Coop cool

#76089 - 03/01/05 04:18 AM Re: Accidental Chicken

What a lucky chicken to have found you!

Since you are planning on building a flock, a word about bio security. Hopefully, your bird will recover, but be aware that she may remain a carrier of whatever currently ails her. Consequently, any new birds you acquire may be exposed.

#76090 - 03/01/05 06:45 AM Re: Accidental Chicken
Bruce Smith Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 560
Loc: Michigan
Those bubbly eyes are a sure indication of chronic respiratory disease. This is a contagious, non-curable disease that is normally defeated only by clearing the housing, disinfecting, and then leaving the building and equipment empty for a few weeks. Gail Damerow, in her book The Chicken Health Handbook, says Tylan or erythromycin (Gallimycin) will reduce the death rate in an outbreak, but the birds affected remain carriers. It is common worldwide, especially in commercial flocks. Expect it to appear at times of stress, even after you have become convinced that it has been defeated. Any bird showing signs of respiratory disease should always be isolated far away from other birds and handled with sanitary precautions. If I already had birds and this one showed up with her symptoms, I would have terminated her immediately and disposed of the carcass in a sanitary fashion before she ever got to the home place.

#76091 - 03/01/05 08:03 AM Re: Accidental Chicken
CJR Offline
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8501
Loc: Montana
Please read Dr Bruce Smith's post SERIOUSLY.

Providence did not grant you a great gift! If you keep this hen, you are a threat to anyone nearby who keeps poultry. You can carry this infection to others who have poultry, or if you attend a poultry exhibit. In spite of those who are "caring", "giving" messengers, poultry disease is not something we should perpetuate by being "kind", "caring", etc. The kindness and service to others will be in the sacrifice of this bird to avoid great pain in any others who
may have contact with this bird. This means
many valued chickens could be lost, as well as the pain it causes in their loss to their owners.

Glad that you wrote about this chicken, and I am truly sorry to send such words of woe--but please consider parting with this bird, saving yourself much more pain and expense, than in the
parting. CJR

Chickens that appear "healthy" but have symptoms
of serious and contageous disease, are not HEALTHY, sad, but true.

#76092 - 03/01/05 11:00 AM Re: Accidental Chicken

I agree with the others on the potential threat this bird may be. Kindness toward one bird must be weighed against the potential risk to others. With the known probs facing the poultry industry today, the best way to deal with a situations as this is, quarantine, eliminate and sanitize.

We must be diligent in keeping disease in check so we dont follow the same fate as the Asian sectors are facing today.

I know I dont want to find myself having to cull my entire flock because of disease outbreak. This sorta of thing is happening often, including right here in the US and in Canada.

We must put safety first!!

#76093 - 03/08/05 08:34 AM Re: Accidental Chicken

Sadly, I agree with the more negative posts reguarding your newfound gem. In owning poultry of any kind, there is always the matter of isolating and or perhaps culling when one is sick, injured or deformed to the point that it's normal life span is going to be impaired. It's a way of life. My neighbors have gotten some chickens recently, and I'm constantly keeping an eyeball peeled for a sick or strange acting bird over there. I love my babies dearly and certainly don't want to have to cull them due to someone elses diseased flock. :rolleyes: My one question would be that perhaps this poor creature was delivered and dropped off someplace because the original owners didn't have the heart to deal with the inevitable, thus thinking that "nature" would take it's course and the poor thing would make it or not, then they could wipe their hands of it. It's a nasty thought, yet one of merit.....


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