It's been about a month or so since this happened and I just haven't had time to write about it. It's too funny not to share though. Warning though - there's lots of talk of chicken buttholes, yeast infections and the use of Preparation H. You may think you're reading a pregnancy story, but you're not.
I come home from work and the teenage girl from next door is waiting for me in my driveway. When I get out of the car she tells me, "One of your chickens has gotten out and your dogs are attacking it."
Sure enough, the dogs were attacking a chicken. Somehow one had gotten out (I'm still not sure, but kind of think the girl may have had something to do with it, which is a whole other story) and John had been home early and let the dogs out before going back to work.
The poor chicken it happened to was Midge. She was pretty beat up too. They had pulled out her tail feathers and most of her neck feathers. I think the only thing that really saved her is that every time they tried to rip off her neck all they got were feathers. She looked AWFUL.
So I got her cleaned up and checked her for any puncture wounds. Did you know that a sweaty, featherless chicken smells like chicken? Seriously. It was weird.
She looked ok and I decided to keep her away from the others for the night just to make sure they didn't pick on her.
A few days later she was still looking ok, but SMELLED and NOT like chicken. I checked out her backside and it was caked in poop. I sprayed her off and took a closer look and something just didn't look right.
You see, chickens only have one hole that does it all so you want it to work right. Especially since she looked like she was getting close to laying. I googled the causes and thought she may have vent gleet which is basically a chicken yeast infection. So I soaked her in an epsom salt bath, made a epsom salt water bottle for her and put some meds on it - Preparation H to help with the swelling. The next day she was still caked in poo again so I decided to look for a vet.
I know what you're thinking, "I would have just made her into dinner," but see, she was still small. Too tiny to eat really and plus she hadn't even laid an egg yet. Homegirl had yet to start earning her keep!
So it was an adventure trying to find a vet that saw chickens, but one did.
I like to call this one Chicken in a Box.
It turns out Midge had some heavy bruising from the attack and one puncture wound. Oh, and a tear on her vent. Yes. My chicken a tear on her butthole. One that required stitches.
I got my chicken's butthole stitched.
Wait. It gets better.
She also required daily baths to keep her backside clean (it's a common problem in baby chicks when they get a thing called pasty butt and aren't able to poop so they die) and oral antibiotics.
Yes. Oral antibiotics. Twice a day.
How the hell do you give a chicken oral antibiotics you ask? Yeah, so did I. I googled. None of which really helped. So I developed my own method.
First I'd give her a bath. The bath was warm water and dish soap that was really more of a soak. I got splashed SEVERAL times. Our 12 year old nephew was staying with us at the time and thought it was HILARIOUS when Midge went all crazy in the tub. The hardest part was trying to catch her after I dumped the water out so I could rinse the soap off of her.
After the bath I'd wrap her in a towel (ever seen a wet chicken shiver? It's pretty funny. A wet chicken is pretty funny too). This is key so she can't get away and she can't scratch you. Then I'd pin her head next to my body so that she could only turn towards me or towards the syringe with the medicine. Because you know what? You can't force a chicken to open their beak. There's no magic spot on their jaw where they just open wide for you. Plus it doesn't take much to drown a chicken so you have to be careful to not just shoot it in their mouth if they happen to open wide. Basically I'd have to manage a way to get a bit of the medicine in her mouth so she could taste it. Then she would kind of open and close her beak quickly trying to taste it. I'd do this over and over again until the syringe was empty. It was probably a 15-20 minute process.
FUN! Those eggs better taste great once she finally starts laying!