Saturday 1 December 2012

Alice in Wedding Wonderland

December 1st is a big day for a little hen.  Today Alice officially enters the world of the Commemorative Wedding Chicken.  

We bought Alice in April this year.  Such a sweet hen.  She is very friendly and gentle but also curious and quite a chatterbox.  Alice's colour is known as wheaten (dark brown/ orange neck and much paler feathers for the rest) and she is again a Pekin bantam by breed. 

Alice had a bumpy start with us.  Alice and her sister Holly came with a grotty bug on board - Coccidiosis.  This resulted in blood in their droppings and dragged down their immunity generally.  It seems to attack the gut and results in lethargic and sickly looking birds.  It is also contagious.  We had our flock tested but they were thankfully uneffected, as Holly and Alice had been living in the lounge room- in a proper chicken hutch!  Not on the carpet or couches, I do draw the line somewhere...eventually.  Though I admit to allowing them out on to the carpet to play each day and that we may have taken a lot of video footage of their play time.  

Alice - August 2012
Alice and Holly had to have liquid medication, 3mls twice a day, for 7 days to deal with the Coccidiosis bug.  The first time Alice was given her medication she inhaled most of it.  I got a phone call and could hear her gasping for breath, coughing, struggling and on the edge of life.  Our regular Vet is nearly an hour away from home and they advised by phone that she be taken to our nearest Vet immediately.  Unfortunately they were in surgery so could not see Alice.  Off again only this time Alice had to go to a Vet that I really don't trust.  I took a hen there once and this Vet gave her the wrong medication, did not given her water or feed for more than 12 hours (surgery was not on the agenda, so there was no excuse for this) and charged me more than $400 for one night of errors, pain and ill treatment.  To say I was trepidacious was an understatement.  But there was no choice, Alice was suffocating.  

I don't think the Vet was terribly impressed with our attitude.  I insisted that they take instruction from our regular Vet over the phone and would not take their word for it that they knew what they were doing.  Basically the treatment when a bird has aspirated liquid in to their respiratory system is to place them on oxygen until the symptoms are firmly under control.  Little Alice was only a few months old and I can only imagine how helpless she would have looked receiving the treatment.  After a couple of hours she was okay to either stay overnight (no thank you) or go home to us for constant supervision and a supply of antibiotics to prevent any potential infection.  She coughed and spluttered here and there but she did improve over the next several days.  The dreaded part being that we still had to keep administering the liquid medication for the Coccidiosis treatment twice a day.  I got put in charge of this and it felt like I was trying to juggle blown glass with concrete gloves on, such was my level of anxiety that I was going to destroy poor Alice with one ill timed liquid dosage.  But we got there in the end.  She did not get a secondary infection and the Coccidiosis was cleared from her system - confirmed with a test of her leavings.  

In September Alice started to lay.  The sweetness of her diligently taking to the nest to lay her small and beautiful 40gram eggs, warms my heart.  Me going crazy because some of the eggs were initially streaked with blood.  It must be a confusing and uncomfortable time.  She would have been about 7 months old at the time.  

In October I decided that she may be the perfect candidate for 2 friends of mine who are having their wedding today.  Alice was nominated to be their Commemorative Wedding Chicken.  She is the loveliest little hen and I don't think I've known such a sweet nature in quite some time.  We love to pick her up as she chats away.  I'll say something to her and she'll chat back everytime.  Such a sweetheart.  

So I welcome Alice to the exclusive Commemorative Wedding Chicken group and wish the couple she represents a life of happiness, love, strength, unity and health for all their lives.

Congratulations L and B on your special day.  xx

Alice - 30 November 2012

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