1/6 update: The update is that there is no update. Our chicken is in her straw-lined cage, with food and water, and she is exactly the same. She can move around a little, but we don’t know that she’s eaten or drunk anything. A call to local vets revealed that broad-spectrum antibiotics are prescribed only for chickens whose owners put them in the car and transport them to the vet for a visit, which puts the treatment in the three-figure category. All that’s left is to make her comfortable and wait for her to get either better or worse.
Afternoon update: Six hours after I posted this, our chick is no better. She can’t stand up, and just collapses where you put her down. Kevin held her up to the waterer, and she did drink. A rectal exam yielded a discharge of yellow liquid and grass-green solids. I couldn’t feel an egg, but I don’t know that I know what to feel for. We’ve sequestered her in a cage with fresh straw, food, and water with a little apple cider vinegar in it. I suspect that, by tomorrow morning, she’ll either be dead or better, but I suspect the smart money’s on dead. Sigh.
A chicken is sick, and I am no help at all.
She’s tail-down, and she nestles down wherever you put her. Kevin found her in the coop yesterday afternoon, and we tucked her away in a nest box. She was still there this morning, and I took her down to see if I could get her to drink water. She took one sip, and then hunkered down next to the waterer. I put her back in the nest box.
She’s a light brahma, and it’s just possible she’s at the point of laying her first egg, although 18 weeks is very early. Her vent seems to be closed and clear, but it’s hard to get a good view because she’s very fluffy and clearly prefers that you not pull her tail up.
She doesn’t protest when we lift her, which I’m taking as a bad sign. The rest of the chicks squawk bloody murder when you pick them up.
I don’t have the foggiest idea what to look for, or what to do. I’ve made her comfortable on a bed of fresh straw, and I’ll try to get her to drink periodically. Beyond that, I’m at a complete loss.