A while back, I wrote a post called “Trim a Chicken’s Nails with a Dremel (and other things I never thought I’d do).”
Well, now you can add number six to the list:
6. Stick my finger up a chicken’s butt to help her pass a broken egg. Yes, you read that right. *Warning – the description gets a little graphic*
On Wednesday night, around 8 p.m., we noticed Liesl was waddling around the run, making funny noises, and squatting like she was going to poop. Only nothing was coming out. I thought maybe she needed to lay an egg, and had left it too late to get to the nesting box. I’ve found eggs in the run before, so it didn’t seem all that strange. Until I noticed yolk running from her vent, and the other girls pecking at it. Oh crap.
An egg bound hen will die within 48 hours if she doesn’t pass the egg. The other girls went to bed, but Liesl stayed out in the run, waddling around. So I filled a large tub with warm water and held her in there for 20 minutes to clean the yolk from her feathers and relax the muscles to help her pass the rest of the egg.
Nothing was happening soooooo . . . I lubed up my finger with olive oil, and up I went. Now there’s two canals leading to a chicken’s vent – one leading to the intestines and one leading to the reproductive system. In case you’re wondering, if you’re facing a chicken’s butt, the reproductive parts are on the left. At least they are on Liesl. I gently massaged, and she soon released the rest of the yolk into the water. No shell came out though, which troubled me a bit. I wrapped her in a towel and brought her inside to blow dry her feathers. I couldn’t let her go to bed wet.
She really loved the blow dryer (unlike Ginger). She came over, hopped into my lap, and sat there while I aimed the blow dryer at her butt. This was so weird. Liesl usually runs from humans or tries to peck them, so to have her crawl into my lap was strange. But she was loving the blow dryer, and seemed pretty happy. Then she started making funny little noises again, and squatting even more. Suddenly I saw her vent expand and a large object press against the skin. Oh no, I thought, her vent is prolapsing. But then it went away. A few moments later, it happened again, only this time, a soft-shelled egg popped out and rolled onto the floor with a quiet thud.
Which brings me to number seven to add to my list:
7. Have a chicken lay an egg on my lap. Poor Liesl had been egg bound with a broken egg. Once she passed the yolk from the broken egg, another egg came out. She loved the blow dryer because it was warm on her vent and helped her pass the second egg. After she dropped the soft-shelled egg, she turned around and started nuzzling her head into my chest. Then she laid her chin on my arm and sat in my lap. It was amazing. Liesl is not a cuddly nor a friendly chicken, so to have this outburst of emotional bonding from her was nothing short of a little miracle. It sounds ridiculous, but she sat there while I stroked her back and kissed her head (yes, I kissed my poor little chicken). Then she hopped off, and I tried to dry her a bit more as she strutted around the room, obviously relieved. I put her back in the run, and she hopped up into the coop to go to bed.
The best part about this is how much I’ve changed since we first got the chickens.
Three years ago, I would’ve had an emotional meltdown, with tears and drama, because my chicken was sick and dying and I was completely helpless.
This time, I calmly got her into a bath and did what I had to do to make her feel better. Was it pleasant? No. Was it an awesome experience? Yes.
I feel like a chicken super hero now.