Saturday, May 24, 2014

Heroic Hen Rescue

I saved a life yesterday.

My terms for living at home mean that I have daily chores and tasks that I have to perform. Yesterday I had to rake sticks and dirt, and ashes, which is about as much fun as it sounds. I had finished the first batch of tasks and was about to start raking ashes next to the garden when I noticed something really, really, weird.

A hen, on her back, in Mom's garden.

Now, a chicken flat on her back is not normal chicken behavior. It's not even normal dead chicken behavior. So I was naturally quite concerned, and ran over, wondering if this was some poor hen that had passed and Mom had, for whatever reason, chucked it in the garden.

She was alive. Panting like crazy, warm to the touch, and in shock, but alive. I picked her up gently, in case she had injuries, and brought her into the house. I put her in the sink, gave her a drink of water, and covered her with a wet towel.

This poor hen couldn't hold her head up on her own and seemed very tired, or at least kept going limp and closing her eyes. I moved her from the kitchen sink - she didn't seem to have a problem with being in the sink for extended periods of time - to a cat carrier in the warm shed, which, contrary to its name, is the coldest place to be during the summer. Out of the sun, and in a good place to nap, I left her to recover.

When I checked on her during chore time, I found her able to support her head, but she didn't seem to want to move around much. At bedtime, when Mom delivered her back to the summer coop, apparently she was well enough to get up and walk off on her own. Today we can't even tell which hen was the one with problems.

Current theories about how this hen ended up where she was: Kurt thinks she flew over the fence, got dehydrated, and flopped over. Its also very likely a bird of prey picked her up and then dropped her, sending her into shock (we've never had a problem with raptors going after the hens before). I personally think the aliens almost got her, but decided they didn't like the taste of chicken.
A happily rescued hen

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