Looking Better!

Last night when I closed up the barn, I was cautiously optimistic that the birds were out of imminent danger. That afternoon I’d been able to feed the two with the most severe symptoms, Amber and Florence, some scrambled egg (feeding back the eggs I’d otherwise have to throw out.) (Notice the jealous healthy hens on the other side of screen door.)

Amber eating


But, despite my attempts, Opal was too sick to eat. I gave the hens that were still lethargic and with mucous-veiled eyes another dose of antibiotics. I use this. Getting a teaspoon of liquid laced with antibiotics into a hen that isn’t strong enough to drink on her own is enough to make a difference.



This morning, when I went out to the Big Barn, I breathed a sigh of relief. Amber, who stood in misery with her eyes squeezed shut yesterday, was clear-eyed and quickly hurried away from me. (I’m now that awful person who pries open her mouth and squirts in water. She doesn’t seem to remember the delicious egg.)



Both Rhode Island Reds looked normal and were eating with gusto. Ruby, here seen in the front, was the first to get sick and appears to be fully recovered.



Onyx still has a gummy eye, but is otherwise on the upswing. Florence is also much improved. Only Opal continues to struggle. She stands in the corner, which is a protective pose that a hen will intuitively take when ill.

sick opal


None of the Gems are bothering her. They are a peaceful flock. But yesterday I saw Siouxsie try to bully Opal. Siouxsie snaked out her neck once and pecked at Opal. Right away, Jasper went for Siouxsie and put a stop to it. The Gems don’t put up with bad behavior. What a great flock this is! Usually I’m drawn to individuals, but in the case of the Gems it’s how they function as a whole that impresses me. I’m so relieved that this illness isn’t go to decimate this group.

I’m still babying Opal along. She’s beginning to open her eyes. I’m going to go scramble her an egg.


  1. this is wonderful news! I am so happy for you and those sweet girls.

  2. Yay!! I have been anxiously waiting for this post today. So glad to see them doing better.

  3. I am so relieved to hear the girls are getting better! I enjoyed the horse pictures,also.

  4. Not raising chickens myself it would never have occurred to me to feed a chicken eggs. This was the new thing I learned today.

  5. So, So glad to see the improvements. Hope you are on the way to complete recovery. This post is truly uplifting, it shows how even awful things can turn around with the right care. Well done Terry, if anyone can do it we know you can. We are with you every step of the way and breathing easier now.

  6. It’s so inspiring to hear that with the right care, these once struggling little creatures, are on the mend! I’m SO SO happy to hear this great news. I feel so unprepared for something like this happening in my backyard flock. I need to change that. It was the quick response that helped in your case, it seems.
    I am remaining hopeful for Opal. Sweet girl. I hope the Gems keep her safe from any further pecking.

  7. We’ve been following events at Little Pond and are relieved to hear that there is great improvement, Terry. Also, along with everyone else, we’ve learned a whole lot about hen keeping when the going gets rough! Well done on your care giving!

  8. I too have been waiting for an update and worrying about your girls, glad to see improvement yippeee !!!

  9. What beautiful news! Prompt, efficient chickeneering has returned Amber’s attitude fully intact! “Pesky nursemaids with icky syringes NOT needed heah!!”

    Best warm wishes for Opal! What a relief to hear that she has the support of her flock.

  10. Nice work Terry! It must be such a relief to see the improvement. I’ve ordered some antibiotic to have on hand since I can’t seem to find it sold over the counter here. How soon after stopping the antibiotic is it safe to eat the eggs?

  11. I’m pulling for Opal!! Get better!!!! I am glad the other hens are doing better! I was worried about them.

  12. So happy to hear about the improvement. I have been checking back all day to see if there were any updates. They have a wonderful “Mommy” who is willing to give up her vacation for them. Maybe soon you will have time to take your vacation and enjoy it, knowing your girls are all happy and healthy!

  13. Glad they are doing better Terry. They are indeed a wonderful flock in the best sense of the word….

    Have you ever tried a warm compress soaked in Epsom Salt on their eyes? I have used that method in the past for some eye issues and it seemed to help quite a bit. Definitely seemed soothing to those of mine that were ailing at the time. I’m sure you know all the tricks of the trade, so to speak, cause you are THE Master Chicken-mistress, but I thought I’d throw out the suggestion anyways…
    All best, Jen

    • I did a cold compress – their combs were hot with fever – but next time (hopefully not for a long time!) I will use the epsom salts, too.

  14. Great news, so pleased the girls have come through and that Opal is responding at last x

  15. I’m glad to hear that the gems are better and hope that Opal too will make a full recovery. Lucky for all of your girls, Pip, Caper and Phoebe that they have you to care for them.

  16. Great news. I trust Opal will make a full recovery soon and Amber will realize that you are the chicken equivalent of Megabucks.

  17. Such great news! I was so happy to see Opal walking around in the Big Barn this morning with her flock-mates. I’m so glad to hear that everyone seems to be on the mend. Hoping that Opal is just a little slower getting back to her healthy state.

  18. I give my flock of twenty 2 quarts of kefir (that i make myself) once a week. This helps give their immune system a boost. And they love it! Glad to see the gals are better!

  19. I am glad they are better and hope that Opal improves as well. I wonder if she could be put in a hutch so she could be by herself until she is fully healed. You kept this icky infection away from the other hens which was proactive thinking on your part. Let’s pray this never returns again!

  20. Now this is a “Happy Day”! Only thing better is to hear Miss Opal is on the mend. Terry you are Goddess”!

  21. This has made me decide to get the soil tested before I install chickens into my coop when it is finished. Just in case there is something lurking in that there soil! Thank you for all the great information Terry.

  22. I’ve decided that Souixsie is just ornary. She needs a good bottom feather ruffling. Poor sweet Opal. I’m hoping all will be well. I’m feeling positive about her though. Glad all the others are up and going and feeling better. Thanks for update.

  23. If only those chickens knew how much you care for and love them.

  24. This is wonderful news Terry! I have been so anxious for you and the girls. Good job on those nursing skills!

  25. Wow, I’ve not visited for a few days and such a serious situation I missed! I’m glad the ladies are getting better. I had a similar experience this last week. My first season with guineas, one by one they started getting sick. Then death. I ran to Tractor Supply and asked the employees who then told me about the Duramycin, which I added to their water dish at a much stronger strength than your mix (I have yet to write the company to give me a proper “teaspoon” measurement to a quart of water). I still lost 2 guineas. The others got better. I love the guineas and appreciate them so much despite their “wildness” but am ever so glad I did not have to learn about this at my chickens’ expense!

    I’m going to get some terramycin ointment to have on hand. That’s really good to know about Terry! Ruby’s eye looked so terrible.

  26. whew!!! what a relief…glad to hear everyone is getting better. hope Opal is better tomorrow.

  27. Such positive news! You really will need a vacation after this.

  28. I’m so glad the ladies are healing!! You are doing such a great job caring for them. That’s alot of work on your end. You deserve a fantastic vacation!!