Some time last night my ailing Americauna hen, Natalie, passed on to that great free range in the heavens. She'd been ailing for weeks; dropping weight, poopy butt, low energy. I finally took her in to the kitchen and washed her backside about a month ago and discovered lice! Poor baby. I dusted her, then we dusted all the birds (and their bedding and dust wallows) with Sevin and diatomaceous earth, but I think she was just too worn down. Now I'm worried she might have picked up worms. After all, they all lived in the barn until recently, co-habitating with the barn swallows (cute, but probably full of vermin). At any rate, yesterday she was moving pretty slow, then just sat down on the henhouse porch last night instead of going in. I put her in the "isolation" cage in the coop with doctored food and water and dropper-fed her some of the water, but this morning she was gone. I hate it.
I don't know which is worse, losing an animal to a predator and being filled with grief and rage, or losing an animal to disease and being filled with grief and guilt and self-doubt. I'm going to worm all of the birds just because I can't stand the thought of another one getting sick. Of course neither of the local feed stores has the wormer I want, Ivomec Eprinex, which is a nice topical thing I can apply between their shoulder blades (like flea drops for cats). Yes, it's supposed to be for cattle, but after a day of researching wormers ad nauseum it seems like the way to go. For one thing, it's the only cattle wormer that doesn't require a waiting period before utilizing the milk or meat. Apparently the other ones are a lot more toxic! I think I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and order some online, because I don't really want to wait on this. I have enough stress in my life right now, thanks.