Chicken pox

My poor chickens. They just can’t catch a break. First I uproot them from their chicken coop, then I introduce them to three new sisters. Then I drop a terrorist bully* into their pen. Then they catch chicken pox.

OK, it’s not really called chicken pox, it’s called avian or fowl pox. It’s spread through mosquitoes. I know the rooster had it when we got him; the hens could have gotten it from him or from wild birds at the bird feeder. Quarantining the new birds/rooster wouldn’t have worked, since mosquitoes don’t respect chicken wire.

That black stuff on Bossy’s comb is the telltale scabbing of avian pox. The good news is, it’s not generally fatal. The chickens get a sort of lethargy, some cold-like symptoms for a few days, and then are unsightly for the next 3-5 weeks. The bad news is, egg production drops way off. Like this morning – I got one egg from 5 layers. In early summer, that’s just freaky. (The good-news-in-the-bad-news is that the eggs remain perfectly edible).

Poor Orange has some nasal discharge, and I wonder how much Bossy and Jopari are eating (whenever they come out of their sickness-induced lethargy and try to check out the feeder, the rooster attacks them), but otherwise they don’t have it as bad as some of the pictures I’ve Googled (ugh). So I’m pretty hopeful that my girls will all be fine.

The rooster, however, has had additional points taken off for his nasty behavior towards the working girls, and will shortly end in someone‘s soup pot, if maybe not mine.

* Josh’s less PC nickname for him is The Rape Machine.

2 Responses to “Chicken pox”

  1. Diane Says:

    We’ve had chickens for years and I never even knew this existed. Shhh, don’t tell my kids that I really don’t know everything!

  2. diana Says:

    I just thought it was dirt on the rooster’s comb until it started appearing on the hens’ combs too. Then I had to go look it up, and it took a few tries and a lot of pictures I wish I could unsee, before I found something that looked the same. At least it’s not fatal! I took the rooster out of the tractor and put him in the coop with three of the younger girls who seemed to really like him, and my older birds seem to be doing better already. I figured even if I couldn’t help them feel better, at least I could remove one source of stress. :)

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