Big Red was our rooster and this week he went to chicken heaven.
We got him as a chick when we first moved here 6 years ago and he was a beautiful proud rooster with a lovely nature. He never tried to attack us and he was easy to handle.
Big Red had not been his usual self for the last 2 days and was just not as active as he normally was but he was still coming out to the food dish so we gave all the water a good dose of apple cider vinegar and garlic and fed them a garlic worming mash filled with turmeric. We were also going to dust the chickens again for mites the next day.
The next day all the hens were out and about and Big Red was no where to be seen and I found him in the chicken house sitting on the ground. When I picked him up he was very dopey and then I discovered his rear end was covered in maggots. Oh no fly strike. We think it was partly due to all the wet weather and un-seasonally warm weather we have had but he must have had a dirty butt to attract the flies in the first place. Fly strike can happen very quickly (maggots hatch in 8 - 12 hours) so things can get out of control quickly.
I will not go into detail about fly strike but there is a good article here, but beware it contains pictures so if you are a bit squeamish be prepared to scroll past.
There are suggestions of washing out the wound and treating the chicken until it is healed but from the look of things it had gone beyond that and he was suffering. So we decided to put him out of his misery which was hard (but the right decision) as he has been a member of our farmyard from day one.
We have checked all of the hens and they are all ok but I will be keeping a sharp eye out and doing a lot of looking at chicken butts for the next few weeks.
As much as this is not a good news story I think it is important to share because if it prevents the suffering of other chickens then that is a good thing. We have never had this happen before but we will be on our guard from now on.
Have you ever experienced fly strike with your chickens?