Sunday, January 29, 2012
A call to the avian clinic revealed that there would be no one to check Nina until Monday. They recommended that I keep her warm and provide food and water. She spent half an hour in the house on my lap with her eyes closed most of the time while I planned the next space for her. Creating a hen infirmary on the closed end of the coop where the heat lamp lives was added to the Things I get to do today. An old gate served to give her privacy and seclusion. Food and water were available--garlic water (a ground-up clove per quart). She began to drink thirstily in the afternoon. The food was untouched.
I tucked her in for the night with a sheet over the gate to help hold in the warmth and this morning held my breath as the sheet came off--not sure what would greet me. There was Nina, on her feet, looking eager to join the gang. Slowly over the course of the day, she returned to hen behavior: an occasional peck at the ground became more focused until she actually ate a few flakes of rolled oats thrown out for the girls' afternoon treat. I was ecstatic. She scratched under the tree. She ate greens, and joined the other hens in the chicken buffet. Tonight she's looking good on the roost with rest.
I've heard that when people get old and cranky they should eat lots of garlic. That wasn't Nina's problem, but I'll bet it's good for that, too.