Finding a chicken vet can be very difficult. I have been looking for a while but there was no pressing need so I didn't worry about it too much. When I finally needed one, it took about an hour of calling around to various vets to find one that would see my girls. Even the aviary vets turned me down as soon as I mentioned chickens. This puzzles me as I am fairly certain that chickens are in fact birds...
It started simply enough when I found a bloody poo in the run. The next day I found one in the yard. Then I found one in the coop under the roost... I spend an hour a day with these silly birds and despite following them around to see who was ill I never did sort it out. Since they are ten months old and haven't yet been dewormed, I wanted to start by getting a fecal float test to see if it was simply a parasite of some sort. After all, they do wander around where wild birds hang out. The vet I found would only do the test if she could examine the bird. I explained that I hadn't a clue who it was, even going out at night to see where everyone was sleeping was no guarantee because they switch spots all the time. She said that she would examine everyone for the price of one visit. So, off we went, four angry chickens stuffed into three pet carriers, my mom, and myself.
I have been on a lot of vet trips over the years, with an amazing variety of critters. I have never been on one quite like this. They wanted to see them all, so out they all came, in that tiny examination room. They managed to kick shavings everywhere. They spilled their water, not once but twice. There was an endless amount of poo to clean up, of course, none of it bloody. That would have been too easy. There was an overpowering aroma of chicken before long. That vets office won't forget us soon, that's for certain.
It was so endearing when two of the girls grabbed onto my arm and wouldn't let go. They weren't sure what was going on but they were certain that they wanted none of it! However, I went prepared. I had meal worms in my purse, and my girls will put up with a lot of indignities for a meal worm.
The vet was great. The girls were so good for her while she squeezed crops, listened to chests, looked in throats, examined vents, and finally weighed them. She gave them all a clean bill of health. The only worry is that Domino is still underweight from her molt. At the end, they patiently let me pick them up and stuff them back in the pet carriers for the ride home.
The stool sample was sent out and came back clean. No worms, no parasites, no blood. I don't know what they are finding in the yard to eat to color their poo like that, but my girls are fat, sassy and healthy. Yay!
Even though it was a worry over nothing, I am glad I finally have a vet for them and that we have a baseline weight for each. That means when and if they do need medication, the vet will have it in their chart so she can dispense it as needed. I am also glad that my girls are used to being handled. It made the whole process so much easier. I couldn't have managed it if all four were flapping and flying around that small room instead of calmly following me around, waiting for treaties!
Here are the girls, enjoying the warming weather.
Meanwhile, keeping them out of the bulb bed is a full-time endeavor!