CARING FOR AMY
Giving her warm baths during the egg binding crisis
We've dealt with our fair share of problems & pain - having more animal increases the chance of one running into some illness, injury and even death. That's a farm life - nature gives and nature takes away.
Dawn had a leg injury awhile back - with a bit of arnica and daily massages she's almost as good as new. Still gimpy at times (when there some cold weather), but she's happy as a lark, or as any duck could be.
There was Old Clem (who's 100 in human years - blimey!) whom we nursed back from the brink of death with a bad case of sour crop (due to her old age).
And Bella, who has a slight heart problem, is prone to a mild case of prolapse. Spent a night in our beds as she once had a small fever.
Not to mention the times we've nursed cats thru all sorts of stuff. The list could go on and on.
Last year's freak accident with Amy (when, in an excited flurry, she must have pinched, twisted a nerve in her wing) who has taught us a lot about the tenacity of creatures and how they can pull thru with a bit of help.
For all you new readers (welcome!) You can read about her story here
Now, with this latest incident, we are not sure what the future holds for Amy. We figured nature would have her lay when she was better. Since she hadn't laid an egg for 5 months, we didn't figure anything bad might happen in spring time with the body's natural reproductive cycle and her doing better, But, she was doing so well that she started, unfortunately for her, laying again.
Right now, she is fine, but what another ordeal! She's back with her buds, eating, drinking and being a duck. But as any poultry owner knows egg binding is a serious issue. A problem all its own for an healthy duck, but what about an "invalid" duck.
She had a really bad case of egg binding because it seems that the nerves haven't completely healed or something isn't healed in that little body of hers. The eggs drop/get to a certain point and she can't pass them like a normal duck.
In Amy's case, she had three eggs - one was one inside the other. The first one, pushed by, the extra huge one behind it was the first one we dealt with. Soaking her in warm water did the trick but then next morning - there was another egg; but this one didn't even get to the vent. That was bad and we knew that if she didn't pass the egg soon we were looking at 50-50. No amount of warm water, heat would bring the egg into the vent area - she just wasn't pushing as she couldn't feel that she had an egg. With her still being somewhat unstable in her balance, while we were giving her a warm bath, we felt the egg just break. Oh, dear - a broken egg is not good. Not good at all. Her chance went from 50-50 to a miserly 2%.
So ,we did what we thought was best - flush and hydrate, flush and hydrate. With such treatment, she didn't develop Egg Yolk Peritonitis but there was another problem. Another egg! The egg that crushed revealed another smaller egg. Crap! This was the mother of all egg binding.
Of course, she couldn't feel or pass this egg either.
After a few days, the situation got critical and we surmised that if the egg didn't come out - she was a goner and, if we broke the egg, she could also be a goner due to infection, etc., etc. Nature/she broke the second egg; but this one would be our doing.
What did we have to lose? So, we (Jordanne did the "honors") gathered up some courage and one of Justin's sharp tools and gently pushed it up the vent and broke the third egg.
Dealing with egg binding isn't very pleasant; but this last and final egg gave us a surprise. When the sharp tool punctured the egg, it made a sound like a balloon had popped. It was a "wind egg!." How bizarre! The egg shells collapsed and then it was the flush and hydrate routine. We could tell she was running a slight fever after this ordeal but we managed to get past that.
We are still flushing and hydrating and there's still a bit of egg shells left. We are hoping they will pass soon enough. So she's not out of the woods yet. And even if she passes the bit of egg shells - what next? We now know she can't lay eggs properly. She may form them but something's not right and it could be all because of that pinched nerve.
So how do you stop a duck from laying without spending a fortune for an operation (which I doubt they even do around here)?
There is a contraceptive drug that one can get from vets but it cost a pretty penny for a year (something like $300). Ouch, not very practical, I am afraid. I read somewhere, someone saying "livestock as pets, don't bring to the vet."
So, now what? How do you remain purposeful but practical as an urban farmer?
Is a duck the same as a human - would natural herbs that work on humans have the same effect.? Oh, how we wish there was a James Herriot about ;but, then again, with his being a practical man and her being poultry, how much would he really do?
Of course, it would have been easier if nature took her but it hasn't - yet.
Amy (middle) at feeding time - she almost looks like a normal duck!
Amy wolfing down greens from the garden
So, until we figure out something, we are limiting her day light hours by keeping her in the house. But, she's not pleased; she wants to hang with her girl friends.
She's a tenacious quacker, she is - a bit of a maniac too! We've dubbed here "Amyac"
And, while she enjoys breakfast in bed in the house (worms, her favorite, to make her feel it's worthwhile to stay inside those few extra hours a day), we pray for the wisdom to make a rather difficult, practical and, hopefully, not painful, decision.
Since she's a hen, how can she live a duck's life without being a duck? So far, we haven't come across a "bleeding heart" vet.... Suggestions? Practical ones ,please!
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