bad mom

4am. I can’t sleep anymore. I am a worried mom. One of my babies is in the hospital, and she may never come back home.

It started about 3 weeks ago when I opened the turkeys’ barn, and Lucie didn’t come rushing out for breakfast. Instead she spent the day sitting in her nest, and did come out for several days. She drank thirstily the water we offered and barely touched the food. We assumed she was simply broody, and were relieved to see her finally getting out after a week. She hanged out with Sophie and the chickens, but her appetite didn’t come back. We offered her all sorts of treats and high-energy food. At first, she showed some interest in hard-boiled egg yolk. She was starting to lose weight and becoming less active. The heat wave didn’t help. We finally went to the Medical Center for Birds where she was immediately admitted. They put her on support care and started a series of tests. They found a major bacterial infection in her liver. A possible (and most probable) diagnosis so far is histomoniasis aka blackhead disease. It’s fatal for turkeys but not chickens who are most likely the carriers of the disease. This is one of the reasons why chickens and turkeys shouldn’t be kept in the same enclosure. Did I know that? Yes. Why did I put them together anyway? Because I don’t have a huge backyard and I thought the risk was very small. I’ve seen many places where the 2 species were happily living side by side. But this is no excuse, and I am feeling very guilty. I am a bad mom.

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