Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chicken Hospital

It's never good when the day begins with an emergency phone call.  Saphera, my blue andalusian hen, was in the chicken hospital.  

Back in July, Saphera had disappeared from the flock.  I spent days searching all over the farm for her, refusing to believe that she had just been taken by a predator.  Two weeks later I found her sitting on a clutch of 18 eggs underneath the manure spreader in the equipment garage.  A week later Eragon hatched, and for weeks the two were inseparable.  Then in early October, Eragon disappeared and Saphera returned to join the flock.  She spends all day hanging out with Speckles and the girls, but at night she sleeps still high in the pine tree in the run instead of safely in the coop.  She just can't break the habit of living in the wild completely.

I'm not sure exactly what happened this morning, but instead of safely hopping out of the tree, Saphera somehow managed to tangle her foot in the blueberry netting that covers the run.  K woke up to find her hanging upside down, caught in the netting by her leg.

And of course it was the morning that K had a very important early meeting.  He put her in the hospital (a metal dog crate bedded with straw) and called me from the road.  I spent the early morning immensely worried about her.  All I knew was that she couldn't bend her leg, was breathing hard, and wouldn't eat or drink.

And the thing is - I'm very good at worrying.  A professional.  It's hard enough being away from my girls on a daily basis, but it feels torture-some to be so far when something goes wrong.  And I felt terrible to leave K by himself to deal with things.

Later in the morning, Saphera was doing better.  She had eaten some scratch, so K let her out of the hospital and into the coop.  I'm still not sure if her leg was dislocated or if it's just strained, but we decided it's best for her to be with the other chickens as long as they aren't picking on her.  Luckily she has Pokey (my other special needs chicken, who broke her hip as a chick) to keep her company.  And if anyone can make it through a challenge, it's Saphera.

Man, does that chicken give me grief.  I felt debilitated thinking about her all day.

And then I checked the mail and the newest hatchery catalog had arrived, a clear reminder to stay focused on the future.  No amount of worrying can help Saphera heal.  And while I wish immensely that I could be there to check in on her, I know K has everything under control.  I can't get too down about not being with K and my girls, because I know that leaving them in search of a farm of our own was ultimately the best decision.

I just can't wait until "checking on the chickens" doesn't mean driving an hour and a half across the state.

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