Speedy’s hanging in there. He’s still living in a cardboard box in our lower level – very nice accommodations for a sick chicken, with fresh bedding, no wind, and food that is all your very own. We never found any visible injuries (aside from the bloody eye the first day, which has since healed), but he is clearly not well yet. The good news is that he is eating, drinking, and pooping just like a normal chicken (mostly), and that is a good sign. The bad news is that his neck is still bent funny; he has difficulty standing up straight, and his neck wobbles when he reaches up to eat. I have his feed up at his normal head level, as he can’t seem to find the food if it’s on the floor. He’ll reach up and almost look normal as he goes in for a wobbly bite; as soon as the food is in his mouth, he retracts his neck and it flops over to his left side. I don’t know how else to describe it. I think I’ll take a video, just to see if I can get some help with diagnosing him somehow. I have a feeling he’ll either get better or he won’t; I’m not sure there’s anything we can do to help (except what we’re already doing). Perhaps he’ll be okay and crooked the rest of his life, and that will be something we’ll have to accept.
I’m very concerned about his ability to keep up with the rest of the flock after this incident; he was just starting to fit in, find his place in the pecking order, figure out what being a chicken means, etc. I’m afraid we’ll have to go through the integration process all over again. I’m also concerned about his ability to hide from hawks. I kinda thought he was more vulnerable – he doesn’t have great vision, he’s slow, and he is only now just realizing what it means to be a chicken. He is watching chicken behaviors being modeled for him (like darting to the nearest underbrush when hawks fly overhead) but it’s taking him a while to catch on.
I will try to keep you posted, but if I forget, comment and bug me to tell you. I am more optimistic now than I was that first day. He is such a sweet bird; whenever he hears me walking down the stairs, he starts to cheep for me in his bubbly Speedy-talk that is so cute. “I miss you! Give me attention!” he calls, and I try very hard to do so. I do have four little birds of my own to homeschool and care for, so sometimes Speedy has to wait. But I’ve got him shoved up right against the sliding glass door where all the other chickens like to come and sit during the day (it’s warmer there), and he can see them and find plenty of interesting things to watch. I hope. Hang in there, Speeds.