Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sick chickens

My chickens developed Fowl Pox when they were about 4 months old. They had nasty looking sores on their wattles.

I was sick with worry, but everything I read seemed to indicate it was not a big deal. "Endemic in Texas" or "full recovery" or "active virus for weeks after recovery" or "no useful vaccine after infection". Problem or not?

Once I got my head around the idea that vaccines would not help me, I decided on supportive care. The idea behind supportive care is that you keep the bird healthy enough to let their immune system fight off the illness.

I bought some liquid vitamins to put in the water. The chickens were not impressed. Besides, it was supposed to be dumped out every day . Rather than risk having the water go bad if it was not changed every 1440 minutes, I decided on supportive food.

I bought a bag of Manna Pro "Gamebird/Showbird feed". This stuff had lots of protein and vitamins and did not go bad overnight. Plus, the chickens liked to eat it.

This helped a bit, but I felt the need to turn it up to 11. Enter oatmeal.

Feeding the flock uncooked oatmeal with plain yogurt and honey really turned things around. The birds loved the oats and slurped it down in mere minutes. (I also liked to watch them try to wipe the yogurt off their beaks).

Yay oatmeal! This stuff was such a hit that the birds started treating me like a rock star. It got to be such a hassle to get in through the gate that I took to putting the oats out before opening the coop. The flock would calm down once they got their oat fix.

Two months later there is no evidence of Fowl Pox.

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