True stories of a small flock of remarkable individuals -- and other critters.



Showing posts with label marek's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marek's. Show all posts

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Flock of Four



"Don't cry because it's over. 
Smile because it happened."
-- Dr. Seuss



I buried Fern yesterday.

She died on Christmas. 
Probably not a significant day, to a chicken.
It just happened to be the right day for Fern to let go. 

Fern had courageously and hysterically battled illness since June. 
I helped her, perhaps more than I should have. 

But she just kept singing and being silly and, well, being Fern.
She wasn't ready to give up, so I didn't give up either.


I kept her going, hoping she would acquire more strength to fight.

After all, Lucy recovered. 
And she thrived. 
Lucy struggles still, but I make sure she is comfortable and happy, and I know that she is.

Fern helped me to understand that sometimes valiant efforts should not be taken to keep a beloved pet alive. 

For the past month, I have watched her condition deteriorate, ever so slowly. 
I knew she wouldn't make it through the winter.   

On Christmas morning Fern was sleepy, and she didn't sing to me when I lifted her from the nest box. When I offered her food and drink, she showed no interest.  

That afternoon when I visited the ladies,they were all hanging out with Fern.  
It felt to me like a vigil. 
It was not a sad moment. 
Just a quiet flock-moment.
Fern died a few hours later.  

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
She was a gorgeous bird.
She spent nearly three years as a chicken,
but she never did grow up.

Fern was a chickadee-chaser.


She challenged authority.

Fern tirelessly annoyed the whole flock, 

and she was number one on Lil'White's hit list.

Memories of Fern will always bring a chuckle, and I will smile because she "happened."
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

So another chapter has ended, and I am left with a flock of four. 

Now I look toward Spring.

Normally, I lustily peruse my flower and seed catalogs all through the winter. 

But this winter I'll be thumbing through chicken catalogs.

I'd like to increase my flock to seven or eight.

Maybe I'll get a Spitzhauben, a Wyandotte .... Definitely another Barred Rock....

Isn't it wonderful how life just keeps rolling along?  
I can't wait to meet my new characters! 






Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lucy Limps --part two

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?