Well, it hasn’t been a dull day, I’ll give it that.
I went to the barn this morning, and found many, many drops of blood leading from the front doors back to the coop hallway, with Maisie at the end of the trail, standing in a small puddle of blood. Wiser now, thanks to the last time, I picked her up and looked at her feet. There was so much blood on them, it was hard to know what had happened.
Into the house we went, as I struggled to get out of my boots and gloves with a flapping chicken under my arm (Maisie is our most passionate flapper, just to make things interesting). With washing, it became apparent that it was the middle toe of the left foot that was the source of the blood; the nail was completely ripped off. I set her up in the chicken hospital crate with a towel-lined wicker nest, some water and food. By the time I returned from my errands, about an hour and a half, the blood would be clotted and she could return to the flock, right? This was just an extra careful precaution, right? RIGHT??!!
I returned to The Prom Scene from Carrie. There was blood everywhere in the crate, in the wicker nest, in the water, in the food…you get the picture. Clearly, more strenuous measures were required.
I soaked the foot in Betadyne water, which earned me water all over the table, floor, and me. I wrapped her in a hand towel held snug with a clothes pin, to keep her wings against her body. I turned her slowly onto her back, which she accepted after a flurry of apprehension. The foot was now accessible and elevated; I wiped it with an alcohol swab, applied pressure, and waited.
No good. Onto the styptic powder. I’ve cut my share of Great Dane quicks in my time; I know a little something about bleeders, and I know they can take a long time to stem off. I was patient. I was thorough. Maisie’s toe continued to bleed.
It would seem to stop, then she’d get agitated and it would start again. I needed her to be calm for a good length of time. If she was calm on her back in my lap, perhaps she would be calm on her back in a basket:
I was quite pleased with myself; the foot was elevated, and should clot more quickly, that is, until a voice in my head said: “Ahem…are you sure chickens can be on their backs for long periods of time?” A quick text to Chicken Debbie told me, no, they shouldn’t be, and she was on her way over. This woman, people…
It seems that prolonged time on their backs will cause the blood to pool at the back of a chicken’s neck, causing a number of problems. Glad I thought to ask! But how to keep Maisie still, dammit?! With Buffy, all I need to do is press gently on her back and she’ll lie down quietly. Maisie? Not so much.
I opted to place her in a nesting position, then wrap her and the basket with a towel, thusly:
Doesn’t she look happy?
Now, there’s a look that says “I keel you, beetch”. This worked for about twenty minutes, at which point, she began to gape. Too hot under there, or stress, or both.
I loosened up the towel, and she is now under there, still, but standing. If she’s still quiet in thirty minutes, and the bandage on her toe isn’t bled through, I’ll take her outside, to rejoin genpop. The cold should help to take care of the rest.
UPDATE: Have just taken Maisie out to the barn. So far, so good. No wonder she was panting and wanted to stand…she had to lay! And I had her pinned down with a towel.