Healing Hearts One Rooster Hug at a Time

Sep 27, 2017

When I first started SALI’s Farm, I had a picture in mind of helping many different species of animals. But I never pictured what the health care would look like. Well, now I have a better idea and it is awesome! We have a whole team of volunteers at the farm who take care of our animals and we can provide a very high level of care. Although I am very careful to not overwhelm everyone with too many special needs at one time. If you like to know more, check out my details on our latest medical journey with Louise. I will share our journey with Gracie next.

If you don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of it all, don’t want to read to the end, just be reassured that we have had a huge success with Louise’s care. We have learned so much about the care of chickens since we first rescued him as a baby in 2015. But this is all hindsight, and when you’re in the middle of it all, you questions yourself if you’re doing the right thing. Often things seems to get worse before they get better. What we have to make sure of, is that we are providing an excellent quality of life for our animals, not giving them more than their bodies or spirit can handle, and learning all we can about their needs, natural behaviour and personalities. I am so thankful I have found like-minded people who have joined me on this journey: my beloved volunteers, extraordinary vets, online resources, other farm sanctuaries, kind farmers and special books.

There is a Kind Critter Care Conference every year that I would love to go to, but it is in Australia! Oh how I would love to be part of this:
“The aim of this day is multifold; to help people determine if running a farm sanctuary is for them, to provide an insight into the many complexities involved in running a farm sanctuary along with the many challenges it presents, to enhance the knowledge of those who currently care for farmed animals or those wishing to take on rescued farmed animals. Conference program will include topics such as; skills needed to start a sanctuary, sanctuary administration, animal care, husbandry and handling, dealing with burnout, farm/shelter design, emergency planning and more.”
Well, how about a Western Canada Conference? And of course, I believe farm sanctuaries are the perfect place to help children heal, so this should be added into the Canadian conference agenda.

If you spend time reading about our care for Louise (below) and you think, “that’s too much care for a farm animal.” I then ask you, “why shouldn’t they get the same care as companion animals?” What would your answer be? And sharing our knowledge, experience and journey, the more children and animals we can help.

Here are the details on Louise:

We’ve been treating Louise’s infections on toes since June!
We knew as soon as we saw the small opening in his toe, he was probably headed for infection, which has very serious consequences for chickens due to their poor immune system. The littlest infection can quickly become life or death. We worked really hard to see if we could prevent it this time – we were determined to save the remainder of his foot. Daily soaking, daily cleaning, daily wrapping, and every 3 days an antibiotic injection (which is better than oral antibiotics).

June 20

I didn’t want to go to our regular bird vet, Night Owl in Kitsilano again. It is so busy there (they are involved in the largest animal rescue in Canada World Parrot Rescue), and such a long drive (usually in rush hour) because they want Louise to be their last patient of the day. Instead of our usual oral antibiotics for Louise, I asked Langley Animal Clinic if I could just get an injection prescription filled without a visit (because we’ve dealt with these infections so many times now). Dr. Aaron Gibbons was really helpful with this. But after two rounds of antibiotic injections, at the end of July, it was getting worse.

July 27

On July 27th I took Louise to Dr. Ken MacQuisten of Townline Vet Hospital in Abbotsford. Recommended by Diane Marsh of the Happy Herd. He was so good with Louise, and super experienced with chickens and actually treats the orphaned bears on Grouse Mountain. He recommended the highest strength antibiotic on the market Baytril (which you can’t give to egg laying hens – can’t get into the human food chain). And recommended we just keep doing what we were doing for another 21 days and he hoped that the infected area would be contained and the skin would naturally die and shed off. This was so much better than a possible amputation!

August 16

Well, it really started to look worse and he formed a weird band around the bulb of his toe. I took Louise to see Dr. Ken today (Aug 24) and he was actually pleased with the look of it. He said the body was doing a good job of healing around the dead area. He said that the tight band was unusual to see in a chicken – he usually sees it in fledglings. He said it was causing too much pressure on Louise’s toe and cut it off. He sent us home with a 2 week round of Baytril and habitane ointment.

August 24

Since August 24th, we rarely miss a day of washing his foot in surgical soap (hapitane), then applying ointment and a fresh clean dog boot. And it is working! The affected area is slowly sloughing off.

September 12

To say this bird is a good patient is an understatement. He takes all these vet visits, poking, prodding, X-rays, bandaging, boots, and wheelchair fittings in stride. He teaches everyone he comes into contact with about resilience in the face of adversity. And everyone he comes into contact with falls in love with him.

Healing Hearts One Rooster Hug at a Time

Dean Atwal from Joy TV
Blue Dog boot, Pink Duck boot, Black Chicken boot

Keryn Denroche, Found & Chief Bottle Washer