A new plan for Ticker the chicken

14-tickerPoor Ticker! She is still so sick and I just don’t know how to help her. I am trying so many things, and as each one proves fruitless I move on to the next. She’s been living in a crate next to the washing machine for two weeks now. If the weather were warmer during the day, I would put her out in the coop with the other chickens, but it’s too cold out there for a sick hen. To address the ascites, she was on an antibiotic prescribed by the vet. Her swollen belly did clear up, but today is filling back up again, I’m afraid. Next on the list of ailments is her impacted crop or impacted gizzard. Her crop still has the ping pong ball sized mass in it. It’s just not going away, not with olive oil or pineapple juice or even plain water. She’s perky and interested in eating though, so I’m not sure her crop is impacted. The x-ray had shown a gizzard full of something, so I was thinking her gizzard was impacted, and maybe it is. Or maybe it is full of grit and she needs to eat food that will cause the grit to move around and wear down.

Ticker wants to eat, so I offer her many different options. Yesterday she turned her nose up at regular chicken crumbles, at canned pumpkin, at chicken-flavored baby food, but devoured a cabbage. My inclination has been to treat an impacted crop by feeding her soft foods, but she’s more interested in hard-to-digest foods, so I’m going with the idea that her gizzard has too much grit in it. I gave her a bowl of sunflower seeds (in the shell, straight from my bird food bin outside). They are really hard to digest! Ticker loves them and has been picking at them all day.

Another thought crossed my mind – that she might have coccidiosis. I’ve never really dealt with it before, so I wonder if I’m not seeing the signs. It can cause scarring of the intestinal lining over time, which would result in some of the digestive issues she’s having now. Maybe she’s had it for a while? Is that even possible? I don’t know, but I went ahead and started a Corid treatment on her just in case.

Time will tell what happens to Ticker. I wish I could figure out what was going on with her little body.

Ticker is the only one who is still sick around here, thank goodness! ‘H’ and I are slowly feeling better. We’re still tired and our cough lingers on, but overall we are doing much better. I’ve ingested more herbs in the past three weeks than I have in a long time! Something feels different now that I’m getting well… I think it’s because of all the herbal tea I drank. I feel younger. Not more energetic or clearer or stronger, but younger. Isn’t that interesting? What does “younger” even feel like? I’m still exhausted from being sick, and I’m not breathing clearly yet, so it’s not that I feel “healthy.” I think it might have to do with my joints, that they move more easily, or maybe the way my blood is flowing from my heart to the rest of my body. I want to keep drinking the tea that makes me feel this way, if only I knew which herb it is! Most likely it is a combination of herbs. The ginger I steeped in my tea made me feel warm and happy, so perhaps ginger has a positive effect on my body. I drank a lot of calendula and thyme, and experimented with reishi mushroom tea for the first time, adding it to our soup bowls at dinnertime.


Calendula is fast becoming one of my favorite herbs. I love the fact that it grows happily in my garden – most of my favorite herbs are ones I grow myself. I have been amazed at the power of calendula to heal the skin, both as an infusion and in a salve. I dried so much of it over the summer and now I have jars of dried flowers in my tea cabinet. It has a pleasant, very mild taste, and is gentle like chamomile. It stimulates circulation, working to clear toxins from the body. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that my “fountain of youth” feeling is coming from the little calendula flowers I harvested over the summer. I’ll do a test for myself – for the next week I’ll drink two cups of calendula tea a day, and see how I feel. I’ll let you know how it goes.





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