I was once told by a large animal veterinarian to never take a chicken to the vet. "Remember, they're only chickens," he said. At the time it seemed to make sense. That was before I had my chicks.
I just returned from taking Lulu to the vet. The reason? She's missing all of the feathers under her tail. They inspected her and ran some tests and determined her bacterial count was high. The doctor put her on two antibiotics that I have to give by syringe into her mouth. We don't know exactly what's wrong and won't unless they run more tests, but the vet seems to feel whatever it is the antibiotics will take care of it. They did rule out mites and other parasites which is great because I was really starting to feel a little creepy crawly.
I'm actually feeling guilty because I think her problem has been going on for some time. In my defense, she's been acting fine, eating well and laying eggs almost every day. Even the vet thought she looked quite healthy (except for her bottom). Plus, as you know, Lulu doesn't let me get anywhere near her so I had no idea she didn't have any bum feathers.
She was actually quite a hit at the vet. They don't examine chickens often although they do see a lot of other birds. The staff and other patients' owners kept telling her how pretty she was, which I think she liked. She even had a little dog visit her although she wasn't as keen on the compliments the dog tried to give her so the puppy had to be taken away.
I'm keeping her separated from the other two chicks for a couple of days to keep her calm and to keep track of what she eats. This afternoon, when I get up the courage, I'll try giving the drugs. The vet technician made it look so easy....
I guess to a large animal vet who is used to dealing with cows, horses, sheep and goats, chickens may seem inconsequential. But when you've only got 3 hens and they've become family pets, everything is different. The bill was a lot larger than I expected so she's now become the golden chick that lays eggs, but I guess it's just what we do for our pets. It's just like when we rigged up intravenous feeding for our cat at home every night or brought our son's rat in for surgery. Even though the rat died during the surgery it's nice to know you've done everything you can to help the animals that do so much for us.