Llewelyn should have been a rooster. She was sent with our order of chicks as a “packing peanut” Barred Rock (or Dominique?) rooster. We found homes for our roosters one by one but couldn’t seem to part with Llewelyn, our smallest and spunkiest rooster. Finally when our rooster Carlos began developing his waddle, we knew Llewelyn was a hen. And what a fine hen she has been. She is by far the best flying insect catcher and the most comfortable around humans. She will often lounge with me on the back deck or sit with me on a bench near the coop. Yesterday, when she jumped directly on my lap, I knew she wasn’t feeling well.
Last time we had a sick chicken (about a year ago) our local veterinarian thought we were crazy to spend money trying to save a chicken. The chicken ended up dying and we realized the vet visit, while expensive, did not help at all. After our chicken passed away, Glenn found a website that reviewed chicken examinations and treatments for sick poultry. We did an exam on Llewelyn and found that she was dehydrated and seems to have lost her balance. I took her inside and began feeding her an electrolyte solution with a syringe (which she will happily drink). It was during one of her feedings that I happened to look out the dining room window and see a fox running toward our chickens.
“FOX, Glenn, FOX,” I screamed as I ran out the back door toward the chickens. Glenn was right behind me as we reached the chickens. We were able to see the fox stop and stare at us for a moment before he started running into the bushes, one of our chickens in his mouth. Glenn ran toward Pumpkin’s enclosure to let him out as I continued after the fox, screaming like a maniac. Before Pumpkin could even begin chasing the fox (Pumpkin is not fast enough to actually catch a fox, don't worry), our chicken Ethel stumbled out of the bushes and ran past me toward the house. I couldn’t believe the fox dropped his prey, our oldest and sweetest chicken, Ethel.
Once Glenn was able to catch her, we recognized that Ethel’s injuries were grave. She had three large lacerations and we could see her muscles and bones. I immediately called our local emergency vet clinic and was told that the veterinarian who sees chickens was about to leave, sorry. I called another emergency clinic and was told that the veterinarian did not see chickens.
Desperate, I decided to fix the chicken myself. We drove down to the clinic where I work as a midwife, and I gathered a few supplies. Glenn and Oliver were my assistants and we slowly put Ethel back together. She was amazingly brave and never struggled.
We have two chickens on the dining room table, one injured, one sick. Please send healing vibes to Llewelyn and Ethel, two wonderful hens.