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

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


I didn’t think about Dorrie’s wandering because the ladies do like to scratch in those leaves at the shady edge of the yard.

But a few hours later, back at the coop, I found Dorrie standing hunched in the corner.  She was barely awake, and she was drooling.    
This was especially odd.

It didn’t take long for me to guess what was wrong.  
My wild foxgloves were in glorious bloom.   
Dorrie must have eaten some of this highly toxic plant.

I left her in the care of her flock while I went to do a bit of quick research.  Back in the kitchen I Googled madly. I found some good info.  
It was interesting that the human symptoms of foxglove poisoning matched Dorrie’s symptoms.  Perhaps the treatment would be the same as well?   
I contacted some Facebook chicken-fanatic friends for advice.

Activated Charcoal was the consensus -- the same treatment as for humans.  Of course I didn’t have any activated charcoal lying around. I didn’t even know what it was, and by that time it was way too late at night to hop into the car and go hunting for it.

In desperation I brought Dorrie into the house and fed her a watery swill of ground-up charcoal from my fireplace.   I had no problem getting it down her throat as she was virtually catatonic.   

I put her to bed in the kitchen and hoped for the best.

The next morning Dorrie was no better.  The plain charcoal had had no effect.  I needed to find activated charcoal, quick.

My dear friend Beth, who normally sleeps in on Saturdays, actually answered her phone when I called at 7am, god-bless-her.   And, yes, as a matter of fact, she did have a packet of activated charcoal. 

I fetched the precious remedy from Beth, brought it back and mixed up the potion.

I squeezed about three tablespoons of the stuff into Dorrie.  
That seemed like a good amount to me.

We took a quick little selfie together,
and then I returned her to the coop.  

The flock gathered around Dorrie where she stood hunched, drowsy and drooling.
Now all we could do was wait.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 
But we didn’t wait long!

In only three hours, Dorrie was honest-to-goodness back from the dead, flitting around with the flock like nothing had ever happened!

Don’t you just love a miraculously happy ending? 

I let the girls out for some celebratory free-ranging.
This time, we stayed on the right side of the yard.  Plenty of weeds, none of them poisonous.
 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
And now I’m at the kitchen table eyeing this precious little packet of activated charcoal, this magical elixir…
Maybe I’ll sprinkle some on my toast. 
I wonder how it would taste in my coffee…..