Friday, May 11, 2012

Cartwheels and Chicken Intimacy

You're going to do WHAT?
Over on The Professor and The Housewife we are discussing the Military Industrial Complex, the defense industry, and foreign policy blow back.

We are such HuffPost wannabees.

 But here? Here, today's post is about the fact that I can still do a cartwheel and how to lubricate a chicken's "vent."

Don't even act like you don't want to know the intimate details.

I know you wish you lived next door. I'm fairly sure my neighbors don't appreciate my ridiculous level of awesomeness...or my awesome level of ridiculousness...or something.

I'm working on ways to impress potential grandchildren. I figure besides making appearances in my bee suit, owning magic egg producing chickens, and making the world's best hot chocolate, cartwheels might be something useful to add to the repertoire.

Over the weekend one of our chickens sat on the nest for 4 hours and didn't produce an egg. She moped around the yard and even refused to peck the new outcast chicken. The next day she seemed worse and there was still no egg. So I turned to that fount of all wisdom...Google. I already knew that the thing I'd dreaded since receiving my first baby chicks was now upon me; I had an eggbound chicken. It is just what it sounds like and can be fatal if not dealt with. Now you might be surprised to know that there is a vast chicken community so I had no trouble finding posts with our chicken's symptoms listed and advice on what to do.

Do you ever realize what you have to do and then keep looking because you don't like the answer? After suggestions to add oyster shells to the feed to boost calcium, the next step was to hand feed the chicken yogurt, or other goodies and to make sure they had fresh water.

Okay. Done. Still no change.

The next thing to try was to give the ailing chicken a bath, holding her backside in warm water for 20-30 minutes.

I cannot tell you how tempted I was to use a large roasting pot on the stove for this, if only for the comedic effect. In the end I decided to use the bathroom sink which would allow me to sit on the toilet lid during the process. It was a pretty picture let me tell you.

Sink full of water + feisty hen = drenched housewife and water soaked bathroom.

The last and final piece of advice to try, before giving up and calling the vet (which seemed an expensive course of action for a 3 dollar chicken) was to massage olive oil or KY Jelly (I can't make this stuff up) around and inside her "vent."

Violating a chicken. Something to add to my "Things I Never Thought I'd Do" List.

You should have seen the dogs' faces when I brought the chicken through the house to the bathroom. I placed her in warm water (flailing chicken wings can make water travel a really long way) and held her firmly under the water. I talked sweetly to her and told what a beautiful chicken she is. She eventually relaxed and let me have my way.  Some things work on females of all species...

After 30 minutes I wrapped her in a towel and turned her over. I put on a rubber glove and took the olive oil...

Do I have to draw you a picture? I'm trying to keep this a "safe for work" site.

I have to say that she didn't seem to mind but I was very uncomfortable about the whole thing. The experience was a little clinical for my taste. Next time I think we'll both have a couple of drinks first, maybe a cigarette after.

I dried her off and put her out on the nest. The next morning she had laid the egg and was back to her old self, queen of the coop. I did think I got some skeptical looks from the other hens. Who knows what she'd told them.

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