Yesterday I take a break after 6-1/2 hours of writing to go over and visit the neighbors. I had “tired old ass soak” that I knew she needed ASAP and other things to take over to her. Dud and Op were thrilled! She fed me roast so that pretty much made my day – like the chickens, I’m ruled by my tummy.
So I’m getting ready to leave and B wants to come with me to work. His Dad told him couldn’t be long because I had to work on my thesis. So B, Addy (golden retriever), Dud, and I head home. Op decided he would prefer to stay on the couch – since Auntie Neighbor was coming over to pick up B she said she would simply bring Op when she came over. Spoiled brat didn’t want to come then either – he even got a CAR RIDE across the street! Auntie Neighbor told me later he didn’t move when I left, when she asked him if he wanted to go bye-bye, he got off the big chair, stretched, then jumped onto the couch. Nope, he didn’t want to go bye-bye. Damn traitor animals.
Addy and Dud were running crazy around the yard. B and I brought Hat in – were getting him water, feed, blah, blah, blah. Addy came in to check on us, the chickens were nesting in various nests around the barn. Next thing I hear/see is Addy grab a chicken out of the nest, B and I yelling at Addy, me trying to get the stall latched so I can go after Addy, chicken screeching like a crazy woman. Addy is taking the chicken (her mouth around the chickens neck) outside (possibly to play tug of war with Dud? – thank God we didn’t find out). B runs across the barn yelling at Addy to drop it, I’m yelling at Addy and finally get the stall door latched and head after B. B hits Addy and tells her no – drop the chicken, Addy drops the chicken that I grab before Dudley has an opportunity to get his mouth on it!
The chicken is limp, eyes closed in my arms, slow shallow breathing and I told B that she is probably going to die. The stress of the event is probably more than she can handle. Surprised, she didn’t BLOW an egg out during the scenario since she had been sitting on the next to lay. I told B (8 years old) not to get upset, Addy was just doing what she is supposed to do and it’s just a chicken. When there is a loud squawk and the chicken goes flying out of my arms and down to the nest that she had so rudely been removed from minutes before. You have GOT to be kidding me!
I told B to guard the chicken and not let the dogs get too close. I decided to get the brooder box out, there is no way this chicken is okay – so I am at least going to get her a comfortable place to die. I put in fresh bedding, get the heat lamp out, drape a blanket over the box to keep heat in, and at some point, Auntie Neighbor shows up. B is telling her the story and I can see her face getting very upset (just like B’s had been a few minutes earlier) and quickly remind her – it’s just a chicken and Addy was just doing what she is supposed to do!
Which chicken is it? It’s Maggie – my half bald girl (Whitey, our rooster REALLY likes her). Maggie is one of the most docile loving of the girls so this sucks. We put her in the brooder box and she attempts to stand and is falling forward on her face with her legs under her. Remember when you were a kid and had those birds that swung back and forth dunking into the water. Yep, that’s what Maggie looked like, dunking forward. Did NOT look promising, something was definitely wrong. Auntie Neighbor got her adjusted so that she was laying on her side and didn’t look so dorky. We both said, no way this chicken is making it. B wanted to know if we could take her to the vet to get x-rays. No B, that is not going to happen, it’s just a chicken. We’ll go to Tractor Supply in a month and get another one for $3.
Yes, if I was a good farmer, I would have snapped her neck. I’m not a good farmer. I name my animals they are egg layers – not meat birds. I bought them to keep the horse company and I love those stupid chickens to death. I’m afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do it in one swift pop like you are supposed to. Better if I chopped her head off – that would be more definite. Instead, I am making her comfortable so she can die quietly. B and Auntie Neighbor say good bye to her knowing it will be the last time they see her alive. She tells me to let her know when she should come over to help me dig the hole.
An hour later, I realize I forgot to give Hat his grain and fill his water buckets. I dress back up and head outside. Hat is thrilled to have grain, I lock the 7 other birds in the barn and toss them some scratch grain. I go to see how poor Maggie is doing. She is walking around, not lurching, not swaying, simply strutting around like a chicken should. So I go get her some strawberry that Auntie Neighbor brought up, she gobbles it up. I dump some grain in for her and she begins pecking and scratching. So I prep the small water bottle for her and put it near the light so it doesn’t freeze. I call Auntie Neighbor and tell her Magnificient Maggie is walking, eating, drinking, and pooping. She’s a little shakey, but then if t-rex picked me up and carried me away to play with their friends I would probably be a little shaken too.
Going to keep Magnificent Mags isolated for a while longer, but . . . maybe there are no chicken funerals in my near future.