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Forty Years with Birds and Dogs 

No shell--Big Trouble

Red and Gwendolyn

"Americia," aka "Red," didn't hop into my lap yesterday. Something was wrong. She sat most of the day in a lovely deep nest in the straw bale. I thought she had gone broody. She hadn't been laying eggs lately, just one, without much of a shell. I added crushed calcium to the treat bucket, but when I picked her up to put her on a more protected nest, I saw half a weak shell fall from her behind. I checked and extracted something else, then looked around in the straw and the nests. The other half shell must be still inside of her--an emergency situation.

Thanks be to those who contribute to Wikihow.com!! It was all there and it worked--first a quiet time separate from the other birds, then a soak in warm water. I had to talk her into sitting down into the water, but she trusted my insistent push and seemed to relax when she felt the warmth. I checked her vent and applied a sterile lubricating gel, then gently massaged between her legs for several minutes, several times.

Red survived the night and is doing well today. After her treatment, she settled down on a towel in a box set on its side , and in the morning I found the second half of the shell in the towel. She's going on a diet of calcium, shrimp tails or dried mealy worms, kale and broccoli, and no corn mixed in her lay pellets. I suspect she's been overdosing on the 10% prescribed cracked corn and ignoring the oyster shell the other birds devour every day.

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