The two babies that were sick have now passed on. And if I think about it too much then I am going to start tearing up, so hopefully I can get through this without doing so! I think I've cried enough while holding onto them as they passed on. I've been having to repeat this over and over to people so how about I simply write this out, then link everyone to this post :p It'll work so much better for me.
(Temporary pause in my story so I can go make some dinner for the fam and I though. Cornbread and what else? And if a 'certain' person - oh you know who you are big boy - suggests chicken I'm gonna hunt you down and ...)
So... You've read that two of the babies were sick. Well, since that post, Ruby (one of the Bantams) and Haley (one of the New Hampshire Red's) have since passed away.
Ruby. Ruby had a problem - as you can read from before - with her head. She acted like she had seizures a lot of the time. But, then they stopped. She seemed like she was doing better. She was healthy, running around, and everything else. But then, she had a funky way of walking. Like her legs were bothering her. I didn't think much of it since she was still eating and drinking just fine.
Then it went downhill. She stopped eating and drinking unless I tried getting her to drink through a syringe (without needle of course). All she wanted to do was to sleep. It broke my heart to see her not really having the strength to do anything but there wasn't too much that I could do for her. Two days. That's how long she, and it, lasted. Two days. One day she was fine, two days later, she died.
She started gasping at the same time that she stopped eating and drinking. There were so many things that it could've been that was causing it. I started administering Poly-vi-sol baby vitamins 3x a day for her. She could barely muster the energy to take the vitamins though.
Two days later from the day that she quit moving, eating, drinking - I woke up and looked at her. She wouldn't make it. I knew it as well as I knew that I was awake. Don't ask me how. It's just something I do. I started crying, but there wasn't much I could do. Again, I tried to get her to drink some water, but she was by this time, barely gasping. I thought it because she finally stopped, but I realized it was only because she no longer had the strength to do anything.
I picked her up and held her in my hand. I didn't want to put her down whatsoever. I was afraid to leave her alone and have her die without me. I wrapped one of my small tank tops around her as I held in my hand. I kept kissing her and she'd look at me, but then go right back to sleep. I think it took all her energy to even open her eyes. I couldn't stop myself from crying even then.
I finally had to leave her because I had other things to take care of - other pets that did still need me. Even though I didn't want leave her. So I placed her in a small basket in the tank because I didn't want Haley knock into her.
Back and forth I went. All day long. Every moment I could. I'd hold her for a bit, kiss her head and try to be there for her.
Finally, I went in there at 5 pm and I saw her taking really big intakes of breath. I couldn't stand seeing it though :( I picked her up - she was already pretty cold all day, and held her. I stroked her, kissed the top of her head and told her it was okay to let go. Okay, I more mumbled it out since I couldn't stop crying, but I told her it was okay to let go. She took two final breaths, then nothing. She died at 5:30 pm on Thursday, May 29, 2008. [Waves hands at eyes] Okay, so not crying anymore ... Anyway, I placed her in a small box with a purple washcloth, then taped up the box, placed a small pink flower on top of it, and buried her the next morning with Lily's help, in the garden where Lily is. That's the place I've buried Elysia and Circe before her...
Haley. Haley was special. Don't get me wrong. I adored Ruby as much. It was just ... there was something about Haley. She was sweet. She was adoring. She would've been the chicken that wanted to snuggle on your lap all the time. She was just special. She hurt the worse to lose. And it wasn't just me. Her sister and the remaining Bantam, Chase, also felt it. They were, and still are, pretty quiet now that Haley passed.
[Takes a deep breath] Okay. I'm doing this. Haley started out as me noticing that she wasn't as big as her sister. She was half the size of her sister. I feel pretty stupid, even now, that I didn't noticed it until two weeks ago. But, to be honest with myself, even if I didn't notice that her body was absorbing the nutrients the same way that the other chicks were, I don't think I could've done any different, or made any difference. She might have lived an extra week? But still, she wouldn't have made it. I realize that only because it took me until her death to realize that no matter what she was eating, her body just wasn't absorbing the nutrients.
You know what's funny? That one tiny little chick. An animal that can fit into the palm of your hand, can bring a strong woman down. Just this little being that can make you hurt so much. Oh, here I go again. [blinking tears back] Trying to get through this here ...
Okay. So... I noticed Haley just wasn't very thick. She was emaciated. Her body wasn't absorbing the nutrients from the food. I was told to get her on the baby vitamins (Poly-vi-sol Enfamil 3x a day) which is how I ended up getting them in the first place. You can buy them at Walgreens for about $10. Also, it was suggested to get Avia Charge 2000 to place in her water (McMurray Hatchery for around $40 for a 1b tub) for vitamins - also for the healthy babies I can use it. Also, some plain organic yogurt for digestion.
Then, when I asked for advice on the backyardchickens forum, about the watery poop, they suggested that I put electrolytes in her water. Purchased from local feed store for $4.99 for 8 oz, or a quick emergency one would be gatorade, or pedialyte. Better to use the one for chickens though.
I was so excited last week because she had a solid dropping. I was so ecstatic. I was so sure that it meant that she was getting better. And that her body was finally absorbing nutrients. I had so many of those times. I would get happy since she showed progress, then it bummed me out because she got worse. It was up and down, up and down, for those two weeks.
But she wasn't going up in progress. She was going down in progress.
The last two days, I ended up having to grind up her food and make it into water because she wasn't getting up to eat anymore. Her legs were failing her in strength and she had to hobble around. At first it was just one leg, but then both became too weak for her. She couldn't move herself around very well.
By that time, I'd placed her and Ruby in a separate aquarium because I didn't want the two stronger ones to knock them around. So Chase and Amara were in one tank, while Ruby and Haley were in another.
The last two days were basically the same as Ruby. I went in there a lot to feed her and continue the vitamins. The vitamins were supposed to make her start showing progress, but never did that happen.
The last day, it was the same. She continued to try to eat everytime that I gave her food. Everytime I gave her vitamins. Whenever I had to clean the icky off her bottom. She always kept fighting. Even until that last day, she would hobble around, then fall, but she fought with everything she had.
On that last day I saw it with her too. I knew that she wouldn't make it to nightfall. She was sleeping more and no matter what I tried, she couldn't stay awake long enough to even keep her eyes open. I did the same with her that I did with Ruby. I didn't want her be alone when she passed. I kept her in a small basket with a tank top wrapped around her and took her with me everywhere. It was warm for her, but just like with Ruby, I felt her body was pretty cold already, all day long.
I was crazily looking up info on both of them for two weeks, trying to figure out what was going on and what I could do. I couldn't figure it out. The tank was clean. Their bedding was cleaned constantly. They were on towels topped with pillowcases. I'd stopped using the shavings when I saw them trying to eat them. There weren't any matching diseases with their symptoms!
At 5:30 pm I went in my room to give Haley some food - through the syringe thing - and when I held her, she couldn't really wake up. I held onto her and kissed her, knowing that she was done. Then, as with Ruby, it started. She took a deep breath, only this time she jerked and slightly squeaked. I knew it was her heart giving out. I'd watched Ruby do the same, and I've seen my hamster and many other animals, suffering from heart attacks over the years so I knew her heart was giving up.
It hurt me so bad to hear her scream. She'd been opening her eyes to look at me the entire time, off and on and everytime I started crying. I couldn't stop it. It hurt me so bad. I knew I could 'cull' her as people on backyardchickens would, but it's not in my nature. I cannot kill an innocent animal. As much as it hurt me to see her in pain, as much as it hurt her to be dying. I just couldn't bring myself to do it, which is also what was causing me to cry. I just couldn't do it and it hurt so bad to watch her.
I held her and kissed her, crying the entire time telling her I was sorry and telling her she could let go. She squeaked a few more times as her heart gave out and I held her, taking big gasps. Finally, as I was rubbing her softly, she stopped doing it. I just sat there, not entirely believing it to be true. But, finally, I placed her in her small box with a pink washcloth and pink flower on top of the box, like with Ruby. She died at 6 pm, Saturday, May 31, 2008. [sniffles]
I've since figured out what the problem was. Please don't ever use cedar chips as bedding for any animals. http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=56286&p=4 Cedar oil poisoning.
And yes, I buried her the next morning, next to Ruby, with Lily's help.
Now, I'm closely monitoring Amara and Chase. Amara is showing weakness in her legs so I'm worried. Very worried.