Friday, June 19, 2009

D.I.Y. Vet

"Paging Dr. Heidi. Paging Dr. Heidi. You have another patient." I'm getting a crash course in the compendium of chicken illnesses. I'm practically an expert now. Can you get an online Veterinary degree? Maybe I should try.

That's right, another chick has fallen ill. Poor Gertrude. I think she may have some sort of eye infection. She's got these 2 red puffy lumps on each side of her head above her eyes.

One eye is a bit watery and she wants to close it. I'm cautioning you now, if you are eating breakfast, DO NOT Google "chicken eye infection." Let me have made this unfortunate mistake for you. Gruesome doesn't even begin to describe the results you will come up with. As far as I can tell, Gertrude's situation is not too bad. She is active, eating, drinking, peeping, scratching, crapping - all the normal chick stuff. No signs of influenza. Her eyes aren't swollen shut or weeping gross gunk or crusted over. Just a little puffy, like someone on the morning after a few too many martinis. I consulted my new bible, BackyardChickens, and got some info for saline eye flushes and smearing Neosporin in the eye. It's cheaper than the recommended meds that you can only get from a vet. And I'm cheap, even going so far as to make my own sterile saline solution. I know that sounds totally high tech, but if you knew the truth, your snorts and guffaws could be heard all the way through my computer.

After a quick trip to Walgreens for an adequate eye dropper and some triple antibiotic, I set up for the procedure. I sterilized the field, a.k.a. the dining table (please don't tell the Disgruntled Farmhand), covering it with towels. Gauze, saline, eye dropper, and meds at the ready, I wrapped the bird in a tea towel - she didn't like it, in case you were wondering - flushed those glassy suckers and stuck the ointment IN the eye. Yes, you can put Neosporin directly in the eye, even though the directions tell you not to. It's amazing what you can find out on the internet.

All we can do now is keep our fingers crossed and hope that the maxim "misfortunes come in threes" holds true. In the meantime, check out our incredibly adorable chicken handler:

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