My whole family was worried about Lucy, but I hesitated to take her to a vet because I thought it was pretty silly to get all worked up over a $4 chicken, for cryin' out loud.
But the day that Lucy couldn't even sit up without propping herself on her wings, I couldn't bear it any more.
A friend told me about a vet -- a farm animal vet - who happened to live just up the road. So my daughter Sarah found a cardboard box, we tucked Lucy inside, and we drove Lucy on over.
The vet, Rosario, met us out in her driveway. After giving Lucy a little exam on the lawn, Rosario explained that Lucy had a neurological problem, probably Marek's Disease. Marek's is a virus that affects chickens and other barnyard fowl and is usually fatal.
Rosario fed Lucy a syringe of garlic to boost her immune system, but she told us that all we could really do was wait and watch.
Back at home, since it was way past dinner time, I automatically switched out of farmer-mode and into mother-mode. The box o'chicken was brought into the house and stuffed into the corner behind the kitchen table, and I set to work making dinner for my family.
As we cleared the table after dinner, Sarah and I heard a soft voice.
We'd totally forgotten about Lucy.
I lifted our sick chicken out of her box while Sarah spread a red dishtowel on the floor. We placed Lucy on the dishtowel and she Bupped again.
Sarah and I Bupped too.
Oooh, said Lucy.
That night we gave Lucy some raisins and tucked her back into her box in the corner.
The next morning we peeked inside the box with hesitation, and were relieved to find Lucy alive. She still looked pretty wretched; her face was grey and her comb was beginning to curl over....but she wasn't quite dead.
I went and found the tiny training-roost that I'd made for the girls when they were chicks. Lucy seemed more comfortable when she had something to wrap her toes around. She couldn't stand up, but she could balance on the roost, and since it was only a few inches off the ground, she wouldn't hurt herself if she tipped over.
This would keep her from sitting in her poo, too. With a little paper towel on the floor under the perch, we had a pretty tidy setup.
Days passed, Lucy lived.
She spent a lot of time sleeping.
When she was awake, she kept me company in the kitchen, having little conversations with me, and watching everything I did with sincere interest.
Lucy did make lovely company.
She also looked quite stunning on the white futon.
More days passed, and Lucy didn't get a whole lot worse.
But she didn't get any better, either.
I found myself sketching little tiny wheelchairs.
Was I destined to care for a paralyzed chicken indefinitely?
. . . . . . . . . . . click here for next blog entry: CHANGE O' PECKING ORDER