Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It feels like Spring!

Sophie's back, Red Momma is healing, hens and Roo are roaming—it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Supposed to reach 50° here tomorrow, February 1.

You can tell Sophie is all better when she recaptures her favorite spot (the sofa) in her favorite position (belly up). She gave us quite the scare.

I had to add a heat lamp to the Chicken Hospital last night, because Red Momma was shivering in there and looking very pathetic. Her feathers are coming back, but so far they are just little stubs with none of the feathery parts to keep her warm. She is thankful for the warm front that came through today that brought lots of sunshine along with it. The Chicken Hospital is now in the sun, the best kind of warmth there is.

Since the others have been in a frenzy being locked up in the coop, I let them roam again today. There are still some snowy patches out there, snowy patches with unidentified animal tracks in them, but I need to wear them out so that they stop beating up on each other. I would almost rather have one taken away by a predator than pecked to death by her sibling. Almost...

Monday, January 30, 2012

Cats on the sofa (not for Ms. J!)

We had a sunny and not terribly cold weekend at Lester's Flat, nice enough to let the chickens roam free to take their little chicken minds off of beating each other up. The chicken patient is recovering nicely in her private bed in the garage. I am curious to see how long it takes for those feathers to grow back, and even more curious to see what happens when we re-introduce her to the others in the coop. She was already at the bottom of the pecking order, how much lower can she go?

I am getting tired of talking about patients, and even more tired of being their nurse, so here are some photos of 2 happy, healthy, spoiled cats: Will and Dave. Those 6 big windows in the living room let in a lot of sunlight on that sofa. Get the woodstove fired up and the sofa is often the best seat in the house. Sometimes the humans are allowed to sit there as well.

The Husband celebrated his 56th birthday on Saturday by staying home and being pampered by his loving wife. I would have more photos of him on the blog, but I am banned from showing his face on here...which is fine, because the loving wife doesn't really want her face up here either!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My new patient

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, now that Sophie is well on her way to being cured, I have a new patient—one of the red hens that I call Red Momma. She is the one who was sitting on the nest box hoping to hatch some babies a few months ago, wanting so bad to be a momma, but we kept taking the eggs so that she wouldn't have to raise her babies in the cold.

Just in the past week or so she has been tortured by the other hens. They have been pecking at her and pulling her feathers. By the time I realized it was a problem, she was already too freaked out and wouldn't let me catch her. In the past 3 days she has gone from looking mostly normal, like the top photo, to this pathetic-looking girl in the other photo. I felt so bad allowing her to get that way, but she wanted no parts of being caught.

Finally The Husband managed to catch her this morning. She is now in the Chicken Hospital, which is a rabbit hutch in the garage. Right this minute it is outside in the sun, but when we bring her back into the garage at night, I am going to have to devise some way to keep her warm. They say that chickens don't need heat in their coop because they have their own little down jackets, but this poor girl's jacket is almost down-free. At least the feathers are already starting to grow back.

Now if I could only convince her that being segregated is a good thing. She keeps trying to escape the crate...

And for anyone who read the posts about my previous chicken patient, the one who was attacked by something (probably a barn cat from across the street) she is very much cured and back to looking like her black-and-white sisters, so much so I can't tell who was the injured one.

Maybe I missed my calling...I should have been a nurse.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Back from the brink

Hard to tell from the photo, but the Sophie Girl is back, almost 100% back to normal. Only problem is, after that photo I took of the sick girl last Friday, she says she's not posing for me anymore.

Only hurdle left is to have another blood test in 2 weeks, to make sure all the levels that were out of whack are back to normal. That, and we have to use up all the meds they sent me home with. Thankfully no more stick-a-needle-in-her-back fluids. She was cooperative for those, but it just made me think of her as the sick girl/patient. I didn't even try to give her the painful injection for nausea—partly because I was afraid to cause her anymore distress, and partly because she didn't seem to have any further nausea, she was eating well by then.

The diagnosis, although not definite, is leptospirosis. Both dogs were vaccinated for it, but it is a lot like our flu shots in that the vaccine only covers certain kinds of lepto. We hope that she has built up some immunity to it now, so that it doesn't come back to haunt her.

I will post sometime later this weekend about our new health dilemma at Lester's Flat—a hen-pecked hen. I have been trying for 2 days to separate her from the rest, but she is petrified, and rightly so. She thinks I am just a larger monster coming to "peck" on her.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sophie's feeling better!

We all had a rough week here at Lester's Flat. Sophie developed some mysterious illness last weekend, and then has been through a week from hell. Even after $1000 of diagnostics, including a trip to Albany for an ultrasound, no one can figure out exactly what is going on that caused her 107° temperature (really bad for a dog!).

Her fever came down and then spiked again on Tuesday night. After lots of fluid and meds, it has been normal since then. We brought her home to spend the night after our long trip to the ultrasound doc on Wednesday, but she had such a bad night here that we really thought she was making her last trip to the vet yesterday morning. But our new favorite vet, Dr. Huntsman, said "no way!" she is not giving up on Sophie just yet. Just 24 hours later, after another night here at home, the old girl is much improved. She reluctantly posed for this photo this morning, but said for me to tell you that it is not fair to take a photo when a girl is at her worst. I think you can see what she is saying if you just gaze into those eyes of hers!

Big shout out to all the folks at Cooperstown Vet for taking such good care of my old girl during a week where they are seriously understaffed and overflowing with animals. They have several chickens, a noisy baby pygmy goat, a stray kitten named Paulie who had to have all his hair shaved, and a huge sad Newfie who needed emergency surgery.

I am going back to pick up my girl right now. She is staying here for the weekend to see how she does. She says get me out of this crazy place, and back to my crazy home where I promise to get better!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Prayers for poor Sophie!

I had to take Sophie to the vet yesterday. We could tell something was very wrong when she stopped eating and wouldn't even come upstairs to sleep with us. Of course this happens on a Sunday when we can't do anything about it.

Lester is the one who has been having some health issues, so I was surprised when Sophie got so sick, so fast. Vet says she had a high fever, which has come down since yesterday. Blood work didn't show any cause for alarm, but they have not had the time to do an x-ray. The hardest part is not knowing what is going on. Two of the 3 vets are on vacation this week, so they don't have the time to do the tests to diagnose the problem.

If I don't find out more today, I am going to have to try to take her to another vet. There are several other good ones nearby, or I could make the long ride back to NJ to her old vet in an emergency. I don't want to make her suffer through the 4-and-a-half hour ride if I can avoid it.

She is just fine in the photo. The sofa is her favorite spot in the house, and sometimes she has to move Will or Dave a bit to make room for her diva self.

UPDATE: The vet called to say her temp is back to normal, but the x-ray didn't show anything definitive. She made an appointment for me at a different vet tomorrow for an ultrasound.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Even colder than the last report!

Cold as in single digits, even in daylight. Not much to report, but wanted to post a few family photos from the holidays. These are from The Husband's visit back to NJ to meet the latest addition to the family, Colin. In the photo above, he is sitting with Nana, age 90. I think we all know who the other guy is in the other two photos.

I have been spending these cold days in the house by the woodstove, reading Steve Jobs' biography (a Christmas gift from Brother John). Having been a Mac addict for all of my computing days, it is fascinating, not only to look inside the mind of this grumpy but brilliant man, but also to read the history of Apple, the Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad... (These iPhone photos are pretty good quality, Steve. Of course, some credit must go to the photographer, Sarah, who is Auntie to the little cutie.)

I find it especially interesting that Steve Jobs was only a year older than me. What effect have I had on the world in my 55 years?

And who knew that he dated Joan Baez?