Our mummy hen (a big black Silkie cross) has been raising five chicks for us. Last night they were moved into the large coop as they are now big enough. This morning one of the little girls was sitting all hunched up on the floor of the hen house looking very sorry for herself. A quick inspection showed that there were no obvious signs of injury or unwell but she was most definitely peaky! Eyes closed and feathers all fluffed.
I scooped her up and took her to the hen hospital, a small cat carrier decked out with hay, and brought her into the house. The Hen Hospital took up residence near our stove for a bit of warmth and I dug out a makeshift hen watering kit, a glass bowl and a pipette. Why I have a pipette or where it came from I don't know, but it was in my drawer of "bits that might be handy".
First round of chicken assisted drinking was a bit messy. Chickens don't just open their beaks and say "Ahhh". You also can't open their beaks for them and due to their make up the water can go in noses, throats or crops! This being the case they have to do the drinking themselves and being given water via pipette is alien to them! I've had to pipette water a poisoned crow before (long story short, vet thought I was mad, persevered anyway, crow okay! Woohoo!) so had some very minor skills. A little drop on the side of the beak encourages them to open mouth and "do it themselves". She took some practice, as did I getting the 'dosage' right, but we got there until she announced she was done and went for a sleep. At least I assumed she did, she hadn't opened her eyes yet!
Second shot at it went better, she drank well with less coughing and spluttering and settled down again. Still no opening of eyes however.
Our most recent attempt was seemingly hopeful although it is never a good idea to get hope up so early on, but she opened her eyes briefly and stood up when I opened the door. Admittedly she wobbled and fell down again but she at least tried!
I shall continue my ministrations to whatever outcome we are headed for.... fingers crossed!