I lost one of The Collective today.
PLEASE do not misunderstand the purpose of this post. I know already how supportive members are and I do not seek sympathy. While I am saddened at the loss of one of God's creatures entrusted to my care, I feel it is more important to have something positive come from this. And so I would like to stress to all the importance of being prepared.
When illness is suspected, it's very important to isolate the chicken immediately. This may prevent the spread of the illness and reduce the stress. It also allows for closer observation of symptoms, as well as monitoring of feed/water intake and output.
I have read so many housing posts, questions and replies, but haven't seen anything regarding being prepared to isolate. Hence, isolation usually consists of placing the sick bird into the handiest box and then figuring things out from there.
I would like to recommend the making of an isolation area be as important to coop building as nest boxes and roosts.
Be prepared with seperate water and feed systems. Be prepared with seperate bedding/litter management.
Be prepared for bio-security with gloves and other sound management practices such as tending to ill birds after healthly ones, and not the other way around.
And be prepared for loss. If you don't go into chicken raising with your eyes wide open and a keen understanding and acceptance of the balance of life, then it will be very hard to take when loss occurs. It will be very hard indeed.