Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yesterday afternoon I was preoccupied with giving kids baths, washing dishes, doing laundry... all the usual Monday activities. When the UPS man arrived I rushed out to save him from the lavish attentions of our dogs. I was a little perplexed for a moment when he asked if we had a "chicken dog". That is, until I looked over to the chicken coop and realized that Baldrick, the corgi, had dug into the chicken run.... again. Baldrick is not a threat to the chickens. He has a definite interest in helping us herd them back into the coop when they're out, but usually he's more interested in the food scraps that we give them every day. That is why we had to line the chicken wire fence with boulders. But apparently boulders are not an obstacle when they come between a corgi and his food.

Long story short: Baldrick dug another hole under the chicken fence. He got in to eat scraps and somehow one of the chickens got out. This little barred rock hen got a few test bites taken out of her back by one of the other dogs - a german shepherd or border collie, the culprit is unknown due to lack of evidence. This chicken probably owes her life to the UPS man.

I had little to no hope for this chicken when I first found her lying in the grass. Her bite wounds were quite deep and she had gone into complete shock. I did what I could for her, bringing her into the house and placing her in a blanket lined cardboard box in the dark of Clay's closet so she could have peace and quiet for her last few minutes. Maybe she was actually stimulated by these surroundings due to the fact that with two toddlers in the house it's not really very quiet.

When she was still alive after an hour or two I decided it was time to try a few more things. So I treated her wounds with Neosporin and started pouring electrolyte-filled water down her throat and force feeding her with soaked chicken mash.

She made it through the night and has been standing around in her cardboard box most of today. I left the closet door open for a while and Margaret had fun showing the chicken how to put puzzles together. I think she's enjoying her new home and I'm starting to suspect that she insists on still being force fed just so I won't put her back out in the chicken coop yet.

This chicken may earn a name if she makes it through this ordeal. What is the feminine form of Lazarus.... Lazarette? Lazarina?

This is not the first time I have brought a chicken into the house. As I have mentioned in another post, my favorite rooster, Alexander the Great, got severe frost bite on his comb and waddles during an extremely cold winter in Ontario. Mom allowed me to house him in a dog kennel in the furnace room downstairs. I hand fed him for a few days....or a few weeks... I can't quite remember which. And in my defense, this odd trait apparently runs in the family. I recently scanned in this photo from my great grandfather's camera:

Update: After several days of living in the closet and being force fed (and even accompanying Clay & I to a child birth class ...although she stayed safely hidden in the car), our little poultry pet is now safely moved to the back section of the chicken coop. Separated from her sisters while her wounds continue to heal, but she is walking around and showing an interest in food! Maybe we can call her Miracle Max(ine)?


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