Posted in Chickens, Pets

Florence’s Illness: Part 1

Florence in ‘hospital’

It started with a sore eye. How Florence got a scratch or an abrasion in her left eye, I don’t know. Only that one weekend when Simon was here, he noticed she was sitting down in the chickens’ garden with her eye closed. Usually she’d be digging for worms or pottering about. But she didn’t look herself at all.

We took her into the house, placing her on the settee, on top of a tea towel. We couldn’t decide whether it was a general lethargy/health issue or a specific eye problem. So I thought I would keep her in a cardboard box overnight in my living room and see how she was in the morning.

Florence just before her visit to the vet

The following morning, Florence was the same. I rang the vet and made an appointment for 5.50pm that same day. During that time, Florence didn’t move much (I had placed her on a tea towel in the living room next to grain and water).

The vet looked at her eyes carefully, coming to the conclusion that it was an abrasion, a scratch of some kind. He gave me Metacam (painkiller) and Exocin eye drops for Florence to take over the next five days. It was with a sense of relief when I left the vet. Okay, there was a problem with her eye but surely if these eye drops are given, she will recover her eyesight? Not that I was looking forward to giving these eye drops. I’m not the most practical of people and Simon had left by then.

Florence’s medication

Thankfully my parents came to the rescue, helped by the fact that my mum is a retired NHS worker. For the next five days, they came to mine to help out. It was a two-person job to hold Florence’s beak open so the syringe with the painkiller would go in. It required two people to adminster the eye drops. Early on I tried just by myself but it was difficult.

So much for my childhood dreams of becoming a vet…

On the fifth day of Flo’s rest and recovery at mine, I decided it was time for a visitor. Partly to boost Flo’s spirits (having visitors worked for Dottie when she was ill) and partly so the other hens would not forget her.


How could anyone forget Flo? True, but chickens are fickle creatures and I wanted them to think of Flo as still being one of them, one of the flock, one of the pecking order.

So ‘top dog’ Jemima was a guest to Flo’s temporary hospital bed. Florence had been looking very sorry for herself up to that point, her eye closed most of the time, but when she saw Jemima she woke up and chatted or, more to the point, chirruped. It was a one-hen dialogue, a soliloquy. Jemima just looked around her until suddenly she flew at Florence. Thankfully, my parents and I had been watching closely and we managed to get the pair separated quickly.

Jemima (photo taken during a time when she was moulting)

Curiously, Florence looked like she had been defending herself just before Jemima was taken away. And interestingly, that same afternoon she seemed more awake and hungry.

Perhaps the visit had stimulated her after all?

Jemima was now barred from ‘the hospital’ but Florence received a couple more visits from guests Ava and Dottie.

Both were closely watched to prevent any more arguments. They were better behaved than Jemima although Ava did help herself to Flo’s mealworms, ignoring Flo, while Dottie’s visits seemed to send Florence to sleep! Florence’s other eye always seem to close as well when Dottie came to visit.


Hope springs eternal as they say, and with the passing days I hoped that there was a subtle improvement even if I couldn’t see it right then.

To be continued


Interested in environmental issues, wildlife, spirituality, gardening, self-sufficiency and mini-adventures. There are two blogs, one is and the other, more recent one, is - ☺️

11 thoughts on “Florence’s Illness: Part 1

  1. Hope Florence is back to her old self thanks to all the TLC. An abrasion in her eye – well, so easy for us to get that too from a windy day, or a minute scratch. I had one once when a speck of dirt got behind my hard contact lens many years ago. No contacts for a while and antibiotic drops – was sore for a while. Good thing you took her to the vet. Drops are never easy to administer to a bird. My first canary, Sugar, had a respiratory infection and his antibiotic had to be administered orally, drops in the drinking water would not do. Canaries are not like budgies that don’t mind being held. I’d seen him when he got his toenails clipped at the vet’s office and he was hard to catch, wiggly and so I boarded him there for 10 days. My childhood dream was to be a vet as well, but I did poorly on math and chemistry classes in school and had to abandon the idea … not sure I’d have the stomach for seeing animals who are sick, or hurt or traumatized by an accident. I have myself a nervous wreck for the Cooper’s Hawk who circles the Park where I walk, preying on the squirrels I think of as pets. I think we both liked James Herriott’s books – he was my favorite author back in the day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Linda. It’s scary how such a seemingly little thing like a scratch to her eye could lead to something more serious. She may have got it from running into a branch which is easily done. Canaries must be very tricky to give drops to as they’re so small. I wasn’t very good at maths, actually I’m still not very good at maths, and I just wasn’t interested in science at school. (I’m more interested now though). I always liked the idea of being a vet but I know it’s not for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I see you have done two additional posts Clare – I am really behind in Reader and will be going to just two posts a week as it’s difficult to keep up. I hope I will read Florence is doing better in your Parts 2 and 3. Yes, canaries wiggle around a lot and don’t like to be handled unlike budgies who are comfortable with people handling them. We used to cut our parakeet’s toenails and trim his beak, but had to take the canaries to the vet to have the nails trimmed (their beaks don’t need clipping).
        I’ve never been good at math nor the sciences except for biology. I had to abandon that idea but people have suggested being a vet tech, but I’m not going back to school at my age. I think we liked the idea better than doing it … we are the same that way. I think we’d have a difficult time seeing animals in pain.

        Liked by 1 person

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