...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


A Christmas Chicken

Some people have ham for Christmas, right?
Some people have pork or turkey 
or tofurky or chicken...

We have a Christmas chicken in our kitchen right now.
But it's not the kind of chicken you would think.

Oy vay.

Just what I wanted for Christmas (and my much-anticipated vacation from work):
The Christmas Chicken Infirmary.

It's a traveling infirmary in a clear plastic tote,
so we can keep an eye on our girl Brahmie.

Hopefully Brahmie's respite in the house will be brief,
because I've got other stuff I was planning on doing this vacation...

(oh, you know...
like relaxing and mostly doing whatever I want to do,
instead of worrying about freakin' chickens!)


So what happened was...
Yesterday before we went out to do some errands, we checked on the girls.
Boo found Brahmie all slumped over in the coop.
She couldn't stand up, and her crop was empty!

Either she has some sort of disease (Marek's?!)
or her molting has really taken a toll on her
and she's become nutritionally depleted in a major way.

It's so hard to tell.
You never really know what's going on with a chicken.

We propped her up by the window in the family room for a bit,
but Boo decided that since she's a social creature she should be with us more.
The kitchen is the central place.

It's definitely a stressor for a chicken to be away from their flock,
but Brahmie seems to be taking it all in stride.

She's had a lot of interesting experiences in the last 24 hours.
She even went in her traveling infirmary with us on our errands yesterday!

She's been looking all around and watching what we're up to.

 Besides the weakness in her legs and her curled up right foot,
she seems pretty normal.   

If Boo hadn't found her, she most certainly would have died before too long,
from starvation or dehydration,
or the other girls could have pecked her mercilessly
and maybe even have killed her.
It's a brutal world out there in some ways...
it's hard to stomach!

Brahmie is one of our 5 remaining original hens...
she's 3.5 years old now,
and she's been a great girl and had a fantastic life.
 She's given us the biggest, BEST eggs out of the whole flock...
 And I absolutely love when she sees us coming into the chicken yard
and she comes running / waddling / barreling towards us 
as quickly as she can manage 
to greet us
and to see if I have any treats!

She's a real gem of a girl, and it'll be so sad to lose her.
If it's possible to restore her to health,
we'll do whatever it takes.


I love the girl, and I want her to get better so much.
But her timing really sucked.
And the whole infirmary project is a huge drain.

  I just hope our intervention efforts don't backfire on us this time, 
like they did with Dommie.
(Two weeks of heroic efforts and she still died).

For awhile today, I thought...
 maybe we should have just let nature taken it's course...?

But when, oh when, do we EVER do that???


Let's have a rehash of our amazingly fun Christmas day, shall we?


- watched Brahmie around the clock, moving her from room to room with us 
"She's panting.  Do you think she's okay?
"She's eating! What else should we give her?"
"Oh, she's closing her eyes... do you think she's trying to sleep...?"
"She spilled her water all over, oh $%&*!"

- almost set the house on fire (distracted by the chicken drama)

- did not exchange gifts (that was so lame, I'm never not giving gifts again!)

- bickered about stupid stuff

- took turns being grumpy 

- blew off our friend's invitation to come eat at her house and play games

- ate only cookies all day and failed to shower

-  felt sad about our dead dogs and people

- went to pick up some Thai take-out for dinner, 
but the restaurant got confused and delivered it instead 
and that caused more grumpiness and bickering and ultimately a loss of appetites.

When we weren't doing all of those fun things, we spent the rest of the hours in between
researching about vitamin deficiencies, homeopathic remedies, and possible diseases...

I really had no expectations for Christmas day other than 
for it to be moderately pleasant and relaxed,
and we (mostly I) failed on all fronts.

But some good things came out of our chicken health research.
 We've taken some action like 
- we've given her causticum 30c and 200c 
- and lots of food (feed/scratch, shredded carrots, rice, worms, cabbage...)
- and squirted high doses of Vitamin B down her gullet.
and our very sweet veterinarian is ready to help us out with anything else we need for her.


So even though it was probably my crappiest Christmas day on record,
(well, besides the one two years ago when we were in bed with the flu
and our sweet dog Tucker was dying - that one was definitely the worst...!)
there's still a ton to be grateful for
and the great news is that Brahmie seems stable at the very least
and it actually seems like she's made steady improvements in the last 24 hours.

Yesterday she couldn't stand at all... she'd just fall flat on her face, poor girl!
This morning she was only able to stand for a very wobbly few seconds.
Late this afternoon she stood for 40 seconds!
Her right foot which had been all rigid and curled in, is loosening up.
She's even started to preen!

We took her out to visit with her flock,
and immediately they began communicating with each other.
She was happy to see them, 
but she's definitely not strong enough to be out there on her own,
and we can't take the risk of them pecking at her...
she'd have no ability to get away or defend herself.
You can't really function as a chicken if you can't walk and scratch,
so she needs to recovery pretty quickly if she's going to have any quality of life.
 We can't keep a chicken in a tote in the kitchen forever!

(fyi: it makes it hard to eat in the kitchen with her watching -- especially eggs and chicken!)

I'm not much of a praying woman anymore,
but maybe, just maybe,
Brahmie can have a little Christmas miracle!


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