Both Conchita and Carmen have been acting mopey and not eating much since they went broody. I take them out of their respective nesting areas several times a day and try to feed them a little. They have both stopped laying eggs.
I began to notice that Carmen would just sort of lay wherever I put her and she wasn't eating at all that I could see. Saturday, I left her by the food and a little later noticed she was still where I left her, but not eating.
I went to get her and saw that fire ants were carrying the food away. The ants were on Carmen, too, and she wasn't even trying to get away. Then I became really worried! If you don't know about fire ants, consider yourself lucky. They give a painful sting and can even kill if an animal gets enough stings.
Carmen has had another problem for a few days. She has been holding one eye closed most of the time. I've looked and looked and I can't see anything wrong with her eye. It's not swollen, it's not red, there is no discharge, I can't see anything in it, and the inner eyelid looks fine, too.
So, being as worried as I am, this morning El Jefe took her to the agropecuaria (similar to a feed store). The "veterinarian" sold him an antibiotic, an anti-parasite medicine for all the chicks, and a vitamin-electrolyte powder that is mixed with water. He also said to separate her from the others.
I put veterinarian in quotes because I'm not really sure of the qualifications of the people called veterinarians in these stores. I know from prior research we've been given some bad, and possibly even dangerous information, about products for our dogs.
I spent a lot of time researching chicken illnesses on the internet this weekend, and I saw that the vitamin-electrolyte powder is often recommended for chickens who aren't eating and/or are sick. So I mixed some of that up and she is drinking quite a bit, but only when I give it to her.
I looked up the anti-parasite pill on the internet and found that it should not be given to a sick bird and that based on their size, our birds should be getting somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 tablet, not the entire tablet like the man told us.
In the corner of the box is a 1 1/2 by 3 1/4 inch tuna can (3.8 x 8.3 cm.)
to give you an idea of her size.
to give you an idea of her size.
I've just started looking up the antibiotic Enrofloxacin. I've found that the dosage he suggested is wrong here, too. One tablet is for a 5-6 pound bird. Ours are closer to one pound. I really wanted to avoid using antibiotics, but ....
I don't know many people who raise chickens here. Many people seem to have the attitude that chickens get sick and then they die, and I guess that is often true.
(Later ....) It's been a busy day and I didn't get a chance to finish this article. I've been giving Carmen the electrolyte water every hour or so in between making soup and homemade bread (and washing my hands 100 times). I even got her to eat a tiny bit of banana (their favorite food) but nothing else.
She is acting a little less morose and even opening her eye occasionally. She must have been really dehydrated. I smashed 1/4 of the antibiotic tablet in a drop of water and administered it by squeezing a syringe with no needle into her mouth.
We'll see how it goes.