The vet suggested we take her to a veterinary eye specialist more than three hours away for specialized care. They weren't sure on the cost but offered that a different procedure runs $3000 an eye. I love Sage, but there's no way I could afford that kind of specialized care. I'd have to do crowdfunding or something, and past experience tells me that fundraisers for animal needs don't get donations. I don't have the family and friend network required to successfully crowd-fund. My family and friends are on a similar or tighter budget than we are.
So I asked for alternatives. The plan for now is to keep her on the eye drops every two to three hours for now and hope for the best. She has another follow up appointment on May 4th. I bought another container of the eye drops to make sure we don't run out before then.
At this point, either she will get better, or she won't. If she continues to have problems with that eye, the absolute worst-case-scenario would be that she could lose that eye. To a normal person I'm sure that sounds absolutely horrifying. When I was a kid we had a one-eyed cat that I absolutely adored. It wouldn't be the end of the world to have another one eyed cat. The old guy was 23 when we had to put him to sleep (due to major organ failure). In a best case scenario, she gets over the upper respiratory infection, her immune system kicks in, her eye gets better with the antibiotics and eye drops, and she goes on to lead a perfectly normal life with no long-term effects. Only time will tell where this will end up.
If nothing else, I'm excited at the prospect of at least two ducklings and eight chicks, if those eggs come through the hatching process. You know what they say about not counting your chickens before they've hatched.
I did ask Tony to pick me up another incubator the next time he's at the feed store (they're still on sale). My thought is to set the second one up with the temp and humidity to hatch, remove the egg turner, and move the eggs to it when they're ready to come out of the turner to sit for the few days prior to hatching. That way I can continually put new eggs in the incubator we have now, and not have to worry about having to hand turn eggs when other eggs are ready to sit flat. I can just pencil in the "take me out" date on the fat end of the egg so it's visible in the incubator. then just go through and take those eggs out each day and set them into the other incubator. This would mean opening the second incubator just once a day - to add a fresh egg ready to hatch, and pull out any hatched babies at the same time. This limits the possibility of messing up the humidity while other eggs are trying to hatch if it's only opened once.
It's a thought anyway. I'm not sure if it would work in reality. Worth a shot though, isn't it? Selling straight run barnyard mix chicks for about $3 each, I could pay off the incubator purchase by selling 35 chicks. I think that might have to wait until next year. With just one egg laying chicken and two egg laying ducks, every fertile egg is precious. If I save, hatch, and raise all I can this year, we should have more egg layers next year.