As you may have read on the Latest News Page, Joe Cockerel has been critically ill.
Jo arrived early in '05, but about a month after arriving became very quiet and started to hold his head to one side.
Eventually he was unable to stand & his head was twisted round so badly that it was upside down. This was very shocking to see & the vet suggested that it would be kinder to have him put to sleep as there was no chance of recovery from whatever it was that was causing this.
Clearly I was worried that it was an infection and Mareks disease was suggested as the cause - However none of the other birds seemed to be affected & I was not about to give up on Joe.
I decided to hand feed Joe as he was incapable of doing anything else other than lying down with his head violently twisted round. However I could see that his eyes were bright & as I put food in his mouth he swallowed it.
Five times a day for 3 months I have been administering food - soaked in water & molded into pellets and dripping water into Joe's beak by syringe. I know when an animal is giving up but I just didn't have that feeling with Joe.
A few weeks ago we were shocked to see Joe manage to unwind his neck & peck at some rabbit food we had offered him - they often like a bit a variety in their feed & rabbit food is brightly coloured they seem to love the bright green flakes in it!
Joe was able to feed himself at last - but when he became stressed his neck would wind back round again.
Then in the past few weeks I have been putting him on the lawn & his improvement is astounding
Here he is in his pen on the lawn today & Mr Peacock is paying him a visit.
You can clearly see him standing on his own with his head untwisted - this is incredible progress
When Joe first arrived he would roost next to Fluffy.
It is odd, but Fluffy is the only Cockerel to come & sit next to Joe on the lawn.
Joe is sitting here after taking a drink on his own.
Treating Joe has been a significant effort on top of everything else, and some people might think we are daft for spending so much effort on one Chicken. But Joe is alive now & enjoying the Summer. He is glad we did & so are we !!
If you are not already a member, please consider joining as we really do need financial support to enable us to feed everyone we care for - Just £2 a month will make a difference