Monday, December 20, 2010

A Chicken Story

So how was your Sunday?  Mine was a little hairy to be honest.  Want to hear a story?

I stepped out yesterday morning to go check my chickens and give them their morning treat.  I get to the pen and everyone comes running for the cup of milo I have in my hand.  Everyone but Neo that is, at first anyway.  Once I get a handful on the ground she comes flying out of the coop to hide behind me with my randy little silkie rooster right behind her.  Junior met the bottom of my shoe.  He's 7 months old, just really feeling those hormones kick in and she's been sole the object of his desire.
I look down and see red, literally, her back was nothing but blood.  Junior must have really been feeling those hormones to mate her to that extent of damage.  I toss the milo, scoop up Neo and refrain from starting chicken soup a la Junior.  Once I get her in I find the damage is more extensive than I first thought.  My first instinct was to cull her right then and there.  But..............
Neo is one of our favorites.  She was the lone chick to hatch out of a horrible incubator accident.  She hatched with her umbilical area not quite closed and got to wear a bandaid for 2 days.  She quickly became a people chicken.  She never screamed inconsolably because she didn't have hatch mates.  If it were up to her she'd be a house chicken happily.
So I decide to at least try.  If I couldn't help her I'd put her down.  She got a shower to clean away the blood and dirt and nastiness. She was not patient with this whole process either.  I got her coated with antibiotics and set her up in an infirmary crate in the living room.  Complete with fresh water, scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, feed and a few other treats.
She stood there for at least 2 hours before diving into the eggs, once they were gone she perked up and decided to make a mess.  She dumped the water out.  This earned her loose chicken time in the kitchen while I cleaned out her crate where she generally had the run of everything and tried to sit with the cats.  I didn't have the camera handy either!
This morning I get up to find she has dumped her water again.  It's a ploy I tell you, she wants out of the crate.  She then proceeds to throw a fit when she sees me getting a scoop of milo ready for the birds outside and tosses her feed all over the crate as well.  If she's feeling well enough to do that she can wait for a bit while I feed everything else.
Once I get ready to address her needs for the day she is beyond mad.  This from a bird I was ready to cull less than 24 hours ago.  I let her out in the kitchen with a little pile of milo and cat kibble.  She was just so happy to have the milo all to herself that she stayed put while I clean up, get more antibiotics on her and get the crate ready to go again.  I get that done and she proceeds to go straight in, ignore the little nest box I picked out just for her and starts scratching around in the back corner:
Nest ready and set up she decides to come back out and play with the natives, meets Sumi on the way out:
Being the diva that she is she ignores the nice clean fresh water (which now has bailing wire holding it in place) and goes straight for the cat dish, which looks like it needs to be scoured yet again:

She decides the carpet is better for scratching and takes off for places unknown:
After a bit of chase the chicken, Neo is once again secured in the kitchen and of course this is unacceptable so she throws yet another fit and corners Timothy just for the shear meanness of it, all Jefferson can do is try to figure out how to remove the bedding chips from the water dish:
"A baby gate?  Seriously?  Just what do you think I am anyway?"
Jefferson on the other hand has located her nice comfy crate and decided to make himself home in her very well constructed nest.  Neo was NOT having any of that:
After a good scolding she chases him right out of the kitchen:
And then decides it's time to go try and lay an egg:
She's been in there now for a few hours, scratching the heck out of that one corner, trying to make it just right for laying an egg.  She turns into a squawking semi-broody hen every time any of the cats walk by.

I think she'll be just fine.  She's acting like nothing has happened.  Her wounds look good, already closed in the worst places, no sign of infection.  So for the duration of her healing, I have a chicken in my kitchen.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

2 years ago today Kelvin came home

2 years ago today I brought home a skinny old man. He stank of too many things to count and had poo crusted over his backside. He weighed 34 pounds. He had been dumped at a kill shelter and no one else offered to pull an old geezer. Even the staff didn't think he'd make it through the neuter.
We couldn't bring ourselves to adopt him back out, even with all the rescues we had at the time. Something about him made us keep him.
He's gained his weight back. He now weighs close to 60 pounds. He was diagnosed with CRF and given 6 to 8 months in February of 2009. I think we kicked that time line out the window for a while. He still hasn't fit in completely with the herd here, mostly prefering to keep to himself though occasionally playing with our dane mix Tesla. He would rather spend his time on his bed or on the couch with the cats. He's a crotchety old man. Doesn't like change. Doesn't like me to leave for too long. Panics if I don't get him his hush puppies on fish Fridays from the gas station, he can smell them even 8 blocks over and gets all excited as soon as a whiff of catfish reaches us. I have to take him up there for them, he sits in the truck and drools down the side of the door until I bring 3 of them out. That's all he gets, 3, and he's ready to go home.
But now, he doesn't feel so good. We've been adjusting his protein intake and meds, trying to make it better but he's slowly starting to go down hill. We'll have another blood test in the next few weeks to know if anything has helped. Until then we are taking it one day at a time not acknowledging the affects CRF has had on him here recently. Not the strange change in tone of his bark from a wonderful basset bark to a screech. Or the ammonia breath that keeps getting worse. Or the fur loss. Or the days he has trouble eating. Or the overall lack of energy.

We gave him at least 2 years he wouldn't have had. 2 years of cats and couches and treats and beds and baths. We are hoping for good news with the next batch of tests. Or at least better news than what we've been prepared for.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fixing Loose Ends

Nothing is quite like having to sort through your junk to make you want to tie up loose ends and finish all those unfinished projects.  I found one the other day that has been 4 years in the making. 
You see, in June of 2006 I got a chance to go to the big bead show in Milwaukee.  I spent way too much and found a ton of cool things but one, or 2 actually, stood out in my mind.  The first was a really neat clasp made by Qui, a company apparently no longer in business as I can't find them on the net anywhere now.  It wasn't a cheap clasp either and it's silver.  Then there were these black agate dragon beads in a stretchy bracelet I found in a bin at the Rings and Things booth.  I put them away for a move and forgot about them until a year or so ago.  I had taken them out, an idea hit me, I pulled all the components out and placed them together in a tray and promptly forgot about them again.
While I was cleaning up for this next move I found them again and tonight, well, I decided to finish the project.
Behold....... the bracelet it took over 4 years to make:
And I made it just the right size for my wrist, my skinny, abnormally thin sized wrist, so it's not going to be put up for sale ;)