The Things We (Or I, Anyway) Do For Chickens
(Broadcast 3/8/2103 while riding in a car on the Merritt Parkway)
You’ve probably figured out that I will do a lot for my chickens. If you remember, when I thought Boss Chicken had bumblefoot, I was ready to go to the store to buy hemorrhoid ointment to rub on her feet, if that’s what it took. Sorry, embarrassment, I’ve got an injured chicken at home. I don’t know why butt ailments are so embarrassing, but they are. But I was willing to put myself through the terror of buying butt medicine when my butt was fine for this chicken. In fact, maybe I even would have thrown some adult diapers into the purchase just to say, “Hey cashier, nothing good’s going on down there!” Luckily, it didn’t come to that, so cashiers of America, be thankful.
That might be the most extreme example of what I might have had to do in terms of chicken husbandry, but like any pet, sometimes you find yourself in a position where you are doing something you never would have imagined even a short time prior. I personally had never even thought about the term “chicken physical therapy” until I found myself with a chicken that, well, probably could do with some physical therapy. Yeah, I’m not really sure what this entails either, but I gave it a shot. We finally have had enough warm-ish days that the driveway was ice-free, and so I decided Boss Chicken could do with some fresh air and a chance to stretch her legs. I put her down on the ground outside, and her mood was immediately better. Her loud squawks became gentle coos, she seemed to really enjoy eating snow, and she was looking around at the yard as though it had all been a distant memory. This was great. What wasn’t great was that she seemed pretty content to not move around much. Come on, chicken, walk around, it’s for your own good. When she did try to walk, it didn’t go as well as I had hoped, but I think this is mostly thanks to us having a gravel driveway, which was tough for her to get decent footing on with her leg issues. Inside on the cement floor, she can get around pretty good, when she wants to. I didn’t press the issue too much, since this was her first time back out since I discovered her illness, so I figured I should just let her enjoy it, and we could get down to the hard work of recovery another time. She was probably an easy target for anything other than some sort of large, carnivorous slug, so I stayed close, taking my eye off her only to throw the occasional snowball over the swingset, where my son was playing. She didn’t like that much, but I think she’s gotten pretty uptight from being inside for so long. No horseplay!
I’ve already touched on the creepiness I feel at feeding chickens their own eggs, and I can report that it’s not getting that much easier. I think what’s preventing me from letting it become a normal thing is the zeal with which they eat them. If they were just cool about it, I’d be fine, but they totally lose it. It’s like when you see footage of big sales and everyone is tripping all over each other to get to the junk first. Except imagine those people eating themselves, and they are all chickens. Maybe that’s not the right image, but you get the idea. Excitement bordering on psychosis. It could be worse, though. A friend of mine mentioned that you can also feed them cooked chicken, and they’ll go even more bonkers for it. I’m not even cooking chicken for myself, so if they want it, they’ll have to take a trip to see the Colonel, and I’m not driving.
I’m sure everyone has interests that they allow themselves to get a little carried away with, just because they enjoy them so much. As long as no one’s getting hurt, I think it’s important to have something you care about. I will give you a suggestion though. Depending on what this interest is, think about what internet searches you do, and who else may be using your computer. Recently I had to look something up at work that started with the letter B, and the first suggestion that autofill put in was “butt pecking.” When the chickens were small, there was a bit of this going on, and I was worried it would result in injuries, so I looked it up. Everything was fine, save for my search history. Now imagine if my boss had been looking over my shoulder. Could I have explained my way out of this? Most likely. Is that a conversation I want to have? Maybe, but probably not with my boss. With you? Yeah, I’ll talk to you about butt pecking.