October 1, 2010
Umber died this afternoon at my hands after a melancholy visit to Raymond Animal Hospital and Dr. Hsuan. Umber is buried in the back yard with the parsley and basil. I put bricks on top of her grave to keep out the raccoons. She was my favorite of the Fuzzy Bottom Gals. I don’t know if Ginger and Amber are better off left alone or if I should get a slightly bigger hen that I can name Timber.
Aloha greetings from Maui, Daniel ~
So kind you were to your lovely hen who passed last week.
I know how hard it is to lose a pet pal, no matter what kind it is.
Thanks for your kind words.
Update: October 23, 2010
It seems as though Daniel’s paranoia about the other two hens has not been entirely without justification. Shortly after the untimely demise of Umber, Amber began to show entirely different symptoms. Her right eye seemed swollen shut, so Daniel began to swab it with salt water and to apply an antibacterial ointment. Amber did not seem particularly troubled, but the symptom had Daniel worried nonetheless. Then a few days ago, Ginger began to act lethargic and seems to have stopped eating. Now Daniel believes the cause might be Newcastle Disease, and information on the Pet Education website indicates a bleak outlook for the formerly chipper Ginger who now fluffs up her feathers, produces a discharge from her mouth similar to drooling, and gasps for breath. Newcastle Disease would also explain Umber’s symptoms, but since it can be spread by wild birds and the chicken coop is in the front yard, Daniel is a bit befuddled as to how to prevent this horrific disease. Pet Education lists these symptoms: “The incubation period (time from exposure to the development of signs of disease) is 4 to 7 days. In general, signs can include ocular and/or nasal discharge, dyspnea, and bloody diarrhea. Central nervous system signs can also occur, including depression or the opposite-hyperexcitability; vestibular or balance problems; tremors, especially of the head and neck; weakness; and partial or total paralysis. The onset of signs may be semi-acute to sudden death. Signs vary depending on the strain of virus and the species of bird.” The World Organization for Animal Health website lists these symptoms:
“Respiratory and/or nervous signs: gasping and coughing drooping wings, dragging legs, twisting of the head and neck, circling, depression, inappetence, complete paralysis
Partial or complete cessation of egg production
Eggs are misshapen, rough-shelled, thin-shelled and contain watery albumen
Greenish watery diarrhoea
Swelling of the tissues around the eyes and in the neck
Morbidity and mortality depend on virulence of the virus strain, degree of vaccinal immunity, environmental conditions, and condition of the flock“.
Several days before Ginger became lethargic, she was twisting her neck followed by a single shrill squawk.