Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Sick Ancona Hen

Dear Reader,
I received this yesterday via e-mail. I hope you'll enjoy picturing it as much as I did.

I just got the seeds in my mailbox. Thanks. It's funny but I was just looking at a vacant triangle in my husband's garden and asking him what he was going to plant there. He asked what I wanted to plant, and now I know.

Yesterday I did something new. I have a sick Italian Ancona hen. She is black and white spotted with a big red comb - a small clown of a chicken with a lot of personality, a favorite of mine. She stands out from the flock as a strident individual. I thought she must be egg-bound, since she is swollen and walking like a penguin. She usually lays huge white eggs, and she is such a small hen that I always worried about her ability to keep it up. When she laid one we could hear her raucus call far over the place, telling everyone about it. She is very loud for her size, too, and has a very distinctive squawk. You understand, the size of these eggs is quite an achievement. Anyway, she hadn't laid in some time so when I noticed her condition I figured she was in a pitiful jam.

I read up on what to do since I don't remember Mama tackling this particular job. I remember her doctoring chickens and anything else she could work on, but not this. So, I went out with my rubber gloves, Vaseline, and warm water in a dishpan. Called Sophia, who is so desperate now that she comes right up to me for assistance, holding out her wings to show me her swollen belly and naked butt. Looking out for any gas explosion that I was warned could happen, I probed gingerly but couldn't find an egg in the passage. (I hope I had the right passage, it forks and one must feel for the egg chute. Yet it seem a huge mass in there. I finished up with the warm bath, but bad luck set in - gnats came out by the millions and Sophia and I both were nearly mad with that. I had to juggle a wet chicken in a sloshing wash pan, etc. to another place under the house. There I finished holding her in for the required 20 minutes. She seemed to enjoy it. I toweled her off and finished with the blow dryer. Being female, she was really into it all by then.

My husband came out, and I told him I had kind of hoped I would get a phone call so that he could tell them I was blow drying a chicken. Earlier, of course, he would have had to tell the caller I had my finger up a chicken's butt.

Sophia was still alive this morning, but doesn't look good. I got out the rubber glove because a chicken person on a forum said I had better rupture that egg, if it was in there. This time my dog had followed me out because she was real curious about what I was going to do with that hen. When I went in this time, there was an excess of poop, and the dog snorted and went off a ways. Her opinion of me has gone down.

I couldn't find an egg, snapped off the rubber glove and gave up. I began to think Sophia had eaten some of the fire ant stuff we put out, or something else dangerous. She looked bad but I hope for a miracle for my clown chicken.

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1 comment:

charlotte carroll said...

oh wow. that is hilarious! what in the world. i am so glad this has never happened to me in the 5 years we have kept hens. thank you so much for all the information today! you are a great help! apparently the camphor laurel is poisonous to goats ....so ill have to have cut down...