On Thursday, February 2nd I realized that Abby the Chicken was fucked up and might die. Or more accurately, I thought that Abby was going to die any moment. Because HER BONE WAS FUCKING SHOWING. BONE. I’m not a medical doctor or veterinarian, and tonight I’m not especially functional as a semi-conscious writer but something tells me that bones are covered with skin and stuff for a reason. I didn’t think that Abby was going to live more than a few hours. She had other plans.
I did some Googling and talked to my mother-in-law. She talked to a friend and we formulated a plan. I bought some antibacterial spray with lidocaine to numb the wound. I was hoping to at least kill the surface cooties and give her a chance to heal. The first night I kept her on the side of the house and left Oreo and Buttercup in the fenced chicken area. I gave Abby a nesting spot, food, water, and made sure she had a perch.
The next morning I staggered outside expecting to find a dead chicken. Instead I found her in the fenced area with the other chickens. She had escaped the side yard, flown over the fence, hopped up into the coop and LAID A FUCKING EGG. Her breed is considered one of best layers, but sometimes a girl should just take a day off and for fuck’s sake AVOID THE CHICKENS THAT ARE PECKING YOU TO FUCKING DEATH.
I think that I’ve made it clear that Abby is not in any way showing signs of her injury. If she wasn’t running around the yard, hunting for bugs and laying eggs I would have found a way to put her down. I’m not keeping her alive as she listlessly shambles* around the yard. I would not ever want to prolong her suffering. But I’m not going to tell her that she cannot possibly be alive either. I’m making life more comfortable for her and giving her a chance. She’s not giving up yet and neither am I.
After finding Abby back in with her abusers I decided my initial plan was a failure. I put Oreo and Buttercup in the side yard and left Abby to roam the backyard and the fenced chicken area. Oreo is too old and lazy to escape anything, and Buttercup is too big. Buff Orpingtons are good layers but they are also good table chickens. Big, fat hens are great for eating and not good at flying. If Buttercup wanted to lay an egg, she would just find a suitable spot and lay it. Abby’s crazy bird brain told her that she could only lay in the nest box inside the coop.
I wanted to give Abby as much room as possible. I wanted to limit her jumping and flying antics. I left the fenced chicken area gate open, and permitted her to roam the whole yard. At some point I’m going to have a lot of chicken shit to clean up. The temperature during the day has been warm, but the nights are down to the forties. I was worried that Abby would spend too much energy keeping warm and not enough healing. Egg got a play kitchen for Christmas, and the box was still in the garage.
I moved the box into my laundry room and lined it with hay. I put Abby’s perch in it and some pedialyte in a bowl. I added some fresh greens and fruit. When the temperature dropped at night I grabbed Abby and put her in her new night home. I already knew this was a very bad idea.
Abby bonded with me and my house as a chick. As an adult she would escape the chicken area and pace at the back door every night, wanting to come inside the house. Our house was home. And I just brought her inside to sleep. She’s in a bigger box, but she’s back in her happy spot. I have no idea what I’m going to do if she lives through it.
*Google the word shambles and read the second definition. That’s creepy, right?