Unexpected Company

Three days ago I was riding with my jump trainer and I noticed a rooster dead in the grass. I stopped to have a closer look and saw flies buzzing around the limp creature laying prostrate in the warm sun. However I also noticed that he was also breathing, although it was very softly. I notified my trainer and she said he had been there all day and she thought he was sleeping. That’s one hell of a nap!

When I arrived at the farm the following morning the rooster was inside a crate in the barn, standing awkwardly upright at the door of the crate. I inquired about his condition and upon further inspection realized that it was already a miracle he was still alive! He had apparently been in a fight with another rooster on the farm. Being that he was solitary and at the bottom of the hierarchy the other roosters had set out to do away with him for good.   I contacted a close friend who is somewhat of a poultry guru in her own right and she promptly came out to see if it was worth trying to save the poor guy. My trainer was given the prognosis and didn’t feel capable of taking on the responsibility of rehabbing him back to health given that she had a business to run. I volunteered to care for the rooster and was eventually completely endowed with him.

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I brought him home and began to Get some water and electrolytes in him with a syringe. Both his eyes were completely swollen shut and he was unable to feed or water himself in his condition. I also administered him some poultry “Nutri Drench” it’s basically a chicken nutrition shake. I did my best to clean his wounds and then iced his whole head, wattles and earlobes with an ice cold wet towel. Then he got an injection of antibiotics and a droplet of eucalyptus/lavender oil in his nostrils to calm him.

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Day two I cooked him some cornmeal, wheat bran and quinoa mash and was able to get him to eat a small amount. He continued to drink water and his chicken Nutri shake from a syringe 3-4 times a day. His right eye was now barely open but my god did he smell putrid! Not to mention I had discovered that he was absolutely crawling with chicken lice. A bath was in order. He got a warm bath in the kitchen sink with some flea shampoo then a long warm blow dry which he seemed to thoroughly enjoy. The bath wasn’t enough to kill the droves of lice on him so I powdered him thoroughly with diatomaceous earth afterwards. I again cleaned and dressed his wounds which didn’t seem to be getting better and put him back to rest.

Today being day three rolled in and I removed him from the crate in the morning to get him his water, shake, and breakfast and clean and dress his wounds along with his shot. Right eye was looking much better but that stench was overwhelming. I noticed a black wet spot on his comb that was pulsating. What the hell? That couldn’t be his heart pumping blood through there the tissue was necrotic. I peered closer and became sick. He had maggots INSIDE of his comb. I stepped back in horror as he reached up to scratch at the nasty worms crawling in and out of his head and one fell to the table. I was mortified. I quickly gathered my supplies; rubbing alcohol, scissors, q-tips, a towel, hydrogen peroxide and Neosporin. I wrapped him in the towel to gently restrain him as he isn’t used to being handled and got to work. I flushed the hole with hydrogen peroxide and began to scoop the maggots out with a q-tip. More and more fell to the mat I had on the table. I flushed again and had to squeeze a pocket that the maggots had eaten into his comb to remove the rest. I then flushed with rubbing alcohol and swabbed as throughly as I could and filled the hole with Neosporin. Then I took my scissors and began to cut off the necrotic ends of his comb. That was the smell. The rotting putrid wounds on his head. It was horrifying but I held fast and finished as quickly as possible. Once finished I again watered and fed him and gave him an injection of antibiotics and his calming oil.

It’s now evening of day three and he’s been fed and watered a few times today I trimmed more of his comb off and spoke to a vet. I still can’t get used to the smell of the dying flesh. He is looking better though and I’m hopeful he will pull through. He ate more than he ever has for dinner and he feels like he’s getting stronger. I’ve ordered a collar that is supposed to make it so they can’t crow loudly and I’m hoping to keep him. I live in town you see so I cannot have roosters for obvious reasons. Updates on his condition to follow!

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