Saturday, April 19, 2008

Chicken Trouble From Way Back

I mentioned in my first post that I have a chicken with a missing bottom beak. It reminded me of a journal entry I have from March 2, 1998, when we, brand new to the country life, had gotten our first chickens ever. Nathaniel was almost 7. Emma was 5:

We are having chicken trouble. I have caught Chicken Little eating her eggs about three times now, and this morning she and the rest of the girls were having a bonzer game of egg soccer out in the chicken yard. They passed and kicked the shell in fierce beak-to-beak competition before I blew the whistle on them and sent Chicken Little packing. I locked her out of the chickenyard. I explained to Emma that I was either going to throw Chicken Little into the stew pot or let her meet her fate in the woods tonight. Emma very patiently explained to me that, "killed is more important than cracking eggs." Translation: It is worse to kill a chicken than it is for a chicken to eat eggs. Obviously Emma is against the death penalty.

March 3, 1998

Last night I locked Ermingarde, Big Red, and Mable in the chicken house and Chicken Little in the chicken yard. I figured I would give Chicken Little one more chance for Emma's sake. When I went out this morning, there was egg on the ground, and Chicken Little was huddled by the fence opposite the main gate. I thought, "Uh-oh. She is depressed from being separated from her girlfriends." Then I noticed this thing hanging out of her backside. I diagnosed a prolapsed vent based on my poultry research in The Encyclopedia of Country Living.

Well, there was nothing to be done except to get her on the table and in the stirrups and get that thing stuffed back in there. My dream has finally come true: I'm a chicken gynecologist.

Nathaniel and Emma assisted. Nurse Emma, who struggles to pronounce "r"s, chanted, "This is an emuhgency; this is an emuhgency." Nathaniel held Chicken Little's wings and head. I took the broken end. Emma handed me the antiseptic, olive oil, and towels, STAT.

Thankfully, the patient was frozen stiff with embarrassment.

After the procedure was complete, we sent her to recovery in the dogs' vacant crate with a few Cheerios--we didn't have any Jell-O--and a cup of water. Chicken Little was afraid to move, and when she did, she stepped very gingerly. (I've been there.) She nibbled a few Cheerios. Everything seemed fine. Then the darned thing came trailing out again like one finger of a plastic glove.

We whisked her back to the O.R., and performed the procedure again. Frankly, my technique was quite a bit better the second time. However, later we found her once more in dire straits. I haven't decided what to do. I might give it one more go and apply a liberal amount of duct tape to the afflicted area.

March 4, 1998

I discharged Chicken Little from Hospital, and she is back to her normal routine. While I had her under observation yesterday, I determined that I had misdiagnosed her problem. Let me just say that I have been demoted to a chicken proctocologist.

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