I feel the need to give an update on the sick chicken I spoke about a few weeks ago. Gentle listener, you will be happy to know that she is doing well. Her legs seem to be improving, and I am even getting quite skilled at getting her beak open to dump vitamins down it. So, it may have looked bleak a few weeks ago, but things have gotten decidedly sunnier.
However, there is one development that is less than stellar. In my original broadcast, I said that it was Henny Penny who was having the health issues. I said that based on the information I had at the time. Unfortunately, this was information that I had gotten from myself, and I appear to be unreliable. Or at the very least, I am best at telling chickens apart when they are standing next to each other. We had a brief period recently where the snow had melted enough that there were spots in the yard where the chickens could forage. I let them out, and it became apparent to me very quickly that both Barred Rocks were rather light colored, and neither of them was particularly bossy. This bothered me, so I went inside and looked at our patient in her quarantine. She seemed pretty dark, color-wise, and I then had the horrible realization that Henny Penny was as healthy as could be, and it was Boss Chicken who was actually the sick one. You may or may not realize that Boss Chicken is my favorite, pain though she may be. I know having a favorite is a sure way to bring about trouble, and here’s big trouble. Her demeanor when I first noticed she was sick was patently un-Boss Chicken-like (but of course, she was sick), and it was dark out, so I made the wrong identification. I am sorry to have mislead you all, but I wanted to come clean about this before I wound up on Oprah having to cry in front of the nation. Though, that seems like good publicity, so if you want to rat me out to Oprah, hey, go for it.
I have made my peace with the fact that my favorite is not well, but like I said, she seems to be improving. If there weren’t so much snow on the ground, I would be taking her out for physical therapy in the yard. However, right now she would mostly be working on tunneling skills, when walking should be the focus, so we’ll have to wait for a thaw. In the meantime, we got her a dog crate so she has more space, and I did provide her with a stuffed animal to keep her company. She mostly sits on it while squawking at a near-deafening volume. This is a chicken who was born to boss, and the stuffed animal just sits there and doesn’t follow any directions. I go in and visit as much as I can, but I do have to go to my job most days. I imagine calling in chicken is not smiled upon in my workplace, so for now she will have to amuse herself.
I had some people from the local 4-H group come by to show them the chickens and talk to them about potentially chicken-sitting if I need to leave town. While I gave them the run down on Boss Chicken, there was an egg in her crate. I mentioned that the vet said not to eat her eggs for a while, since she had to get the anti-inflammatories out of her system. I said I felt bad about wasting eggs, but I wasn’t sure what to do with them. The main 4-H guy suggested that I just feed them back to her. I have fed eggs to my chickens before, usually ones that crack because they froze. I’m getting less creeped out by this concept, but it still feels weird. The idea of just feeding her back her own eggs was both genius and sinister. When an egg is spread out over all the chickens, it’s like the firing squad all having blanks but one person. You don’t know who’s eating her own egg. I would totally know who was eating her own egg this time, but I went and did it anyway. She went absolutely bananas for it. I suppose the big thing was having a whole egg to herself instead of fighting five other chickens for it. I think I will get more comfortable with this as time goes on, but maybe not ever feel totally o.k. about it. When I went back in to check on her and her entire head was covered with scrambled egg, that didn’t help either.
I knew going into this chicken experiment that there would be ups and downs. There have been a lot of ups so far, so I guess I was due for a down. And even this down is looking sort of up lately. I’ll give her vitamins, keep an eye on her, and let her run around outside as soon as the snow clears, which I think will be August. Is this too much work to put into a chicken? Some people probably think so. These people don’t know what it’s like to look a chicken in her beady little eyes and realize, this thing is only even looking at me because I am holding a stale old piece of bread. That’s love.