We have 27 chickens in the coop. And six ducks. We ordered 30 chickens but one died before we picked them up in Watson; one drowned due to our negligence (we left a pail of water uncovered). The 28th chicken is not in the coop.
It is in our house. About a month after the chickens arrived at our house, one developed gimpy legs. At first Bill assumed that it had injured its legs on the chicken wire around the coop. It seemed to sit for awhile and then fall over when it tried to walk. He and Beth arranged a trough for chicken seed and feed and a small dish for water. They arranged it in a tub upon hay and shavings.
I had been away for awhile but when I returned I was asked to put my diagnostic skills to work. They were limited for chickens but I seemed to remember that when Mom and Dad had chickens in '48 - '51 they sometimes had chickens that succombed to some sort of leg paralysis. Using our friendly internet, I discovered Markan's disease - a viral illness that seemed to affect the nerves to the legs and sometimes the wings. There were no suggestions for treatment - if even termination.
Our Chicken seems quite interested in surviving. It has endured incredible stress for a chicken - daily handling by humans, “diaper” changings, confined to a sling, practically hand fed and watered, forced movement of the paralyzed legs. It has not gained much weight. It does poop a lot
What are the likely outcomes of this experiment? It involves a commitment of time and a bit of a learning curve.
Options are to keep caring for it, expose it to the elements (and whatever animal uses it for food) or deliberately euthanize it. It would seem logical to feed it until it gained weight and slaughter it for lunch - but should we eat an animal that has been ill?
Our Chicken can mew like a cat. It tells us when it needs more feed. It goes wild for uncooked beef and the offal of its own kind. It tolerated having its rear end clipped short - poop gets stuck in the feathers. Yesterday I put vaseline to protect the naked skin.
So far, the amount of work required has been balanced by the amount of interest derived. But it could wear thin. Options (and other feedback) gratefully received.