Tag Archives: recovery

Chicken play date

Cheeks has been having chaperoned outings.  I carry her out with me and set her down near where I’m working, in the field or the garden, and she moseys around, scratching and eating.

She loves it.  What I expected, was that after a couple of hours, she’d be tired, and willing and ready to be scooped up and carried home for a drink.  I’ve handled her daily for months.  She’s as tame as a chicken could possibly be.No.  Oh, no no no.  No!  Not yet!   Try to grab her and she hits the gas.  Can’t catch me! I’m a wild animal!  She can lead me on a proper merry chase, even with her lame foot.  When you do catch her though, she’s totally fine with being picked up.  The thrill is in the chase.I only look placid.

Today she got a supervised date. (A very brief date).  Speed date, even.  The rooster saw her from a distance, and barreled towards her, and saved his dancing for the afterglow.

She’s been looking forward to a date, based on how loud she shouts through the window when the roosters come to the yard.  And she didn’t make him chase.  Now all her gorgeous eggs won’t go to waste, and I’ll get some little Cheekslings.She also got some time with Perchick, which was adorable.  They spent nearly an hour together.  Perchick and Cheeks are the same age, possibly nestmates,and they behaved exactly like they recognized each other and fell in step like old times.   

Depression

The thing about depression is that when depressed it’s extremely, mortally, difficult to do things.  Motivation is a notion- a theory of a feeling.  What you are capable of gets smaller, and smaller, and more difficult, until you are barely, with great suffering, managing to do the minimum to survive.

Your focus, and attention, contracts like an aperture into tunnel vision, and when all your energy is devoted to methodically plodding one foot in front of the other, then you tend to just keep staring out your narrow tunnel like a hopeless blinkered horse.

Looking from side to side takes energy.  Big picture? Gone.

When you can just force yourself to do the one thing in front of you you have to do, then everything optional is hopeless.  And more and more becomes optional.  Writing is out of the question.  Reading is a chore.  Ditto eating, hygiene, walking to the next room.  Hmm, I think this is not necessary to my continued miserable existence.  Staying put.

The irony is that you can’t blog about being miserably, horribly depressed.  Not at the time (see above). You can only announce it in retrospect.

If you’re unlucky, like me, you do retain awareness of having been different, awareness of the decline, so that a small piece at the back of your mind screams on about how dangerously mentally ill you are becoming, but without the helpful memory of what to do to recover, or the energy to do anything about it.  For a while I got a blip of comfort out of thinking “at least I remember; at least I’m aware”.  But really, it just added sadness and inadequacy, and made me more aware of the divide between present misery and past health.

Read the rest

Miracle chick

IMGP4853Throughout this post I refer to the chick as a “he”, mostly.  However, these chicks’ gender is still unknown.

My friends’ hen hid in the goat barn and hatched herself a little brood this early spring.  The two survivors were the cutest things, skittish little white puffs tightly attached to mom, learning to scratch, and changing every day – growing new feathers and  little tails overnight.

Then one morning they spotted what looked like a plastic bag hanging in an odd place in the paddock.  Through the binoculars it was definitely one of the chicks, hanging upside down, apparently dead. While P was looking at it though, the chick turned its head and looked at him looking.  “It’s alive!”

He ran outside to retrieve the little bird and had to cut it free from where it had got its foot tangled and been suspended.  I first saw it in his hand, wrapped in a towel.  It looked awful.  One leg was stretched out straight and unnaturally.  Motionless, fully extended and obviously useless, it was generally assumed broken.  Prepared to tape it up with electrical tape, I palpated the little bird bones all the way from heel to hip but didn’t find any obvious breaks.  The bird reacted minimally, although it was dozing off because he was being held with his head low.  His leg looked awful, though, hanging useless from his “hip”, so I figured at the least his tendons were all torn.

Would the bird survive?  He was put in a box, ate a bit of food and promptly pooped, which was hopeful, but he couldn’t drag himself around at all, and the lifeless leg stayed stretched out behind him at a pathetic, painful angle.

These pictures are from two days after re-releaseI consulted Google, found this, and crushed up an aspirin to feed him on a bit of juicy mango peel, prompting H.W. to dub me Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.

(Do not feed poultry ibuprofen! Or the whole aspirin! See the link)

Mostly the chick sat still and quiet with his good foot under him and and the other sticking out horribly; sometimes he sent up a loud wave of lonely peeps.

Later in the day after the aspirin, I grabbed the chick, who flapped and dragged himself through his water dish in a pathetic attempt to escape, to inspect his/her leg again.  This time I bent the leg gently through the whole natural range of motion a couple of times and was satisfied it wasn’t broken, although it was clearly badly damaged.  He couldn’t grab my finger with his foot the way he did with the other foot, and it was stiff and lifeless.

Still later that night, I checked on him again randomly, and he was sitting with both feet drawn up under his body!

More surprisingly, the next morning, when I lifted the lid off his box, he promptly flew up to the edge of the box in an escape attempt.  I inspected his/her leg again and this time he could grip a little with it.  He hopped around his box a bit, too, when encouraged, but with an awful limp.  It still looked broken, even, wobbling and dragging behind him.

But by that afternoon, he/she was standing on both legs, like normal, and clearly very lonely.  It seemed a miraculous recovery.

I thought I would reintroduce him to his mom just before bedtime so he could still have more rest but be with her before he got emotionally stunted.  I misjudged when she was retiring, though, and put him back out with almost an hour of active foraging left.

It was adorable!  I put him down and he ran to her as fast as he could, but it was down a slope so that at the end he wiped out and slid into her legs like he was sliding into base.  She just looked at him, and that was all.  All three of them resumed waddling and pecking like nothing had happened.  I was worried he hadn’t had enough rest and his limp would get worse with the sudden return to exercise, but he was managing fine, keeping up.The chicks are ranging boldly farther from their mother these days

By the middle of the next day, the two chicks were indistinguishable again.  From how awful he looked initially, it was a miracle recovery.

Our best guesses are that he may have been hung upside down for a long time, even overnight, and that his leg emptied of blood.  Perhaps his vessels collapsed or even had nerve damage with a v

ery extreme case of having one’s foot fall asleep, so it took a long time to get back circulation and reennervate.  Perhaps he had strained or over stretched muscles or tendons that bounced back with the rest.

At any rate, a chick that seemed a hopeless writeoff returned to being a normal chick in 48 hours, and although his leg looked broken, it wasn’t at all.  I’ll be more inclined now to care for and nurture damaged animals in case they are able to recover.  It might not be as bad as it looks.

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