Am I dating myself by using a Mary Tyler Moore title? Am I really old enough to remember that theme song? Surely not. My new bifocals I picked up today beg to differ, but I digress...
I have chickens on my back porch again. Two of 'em. Big Bertha Brahma, one of the fat-bottom girls, was getting her new little feathers picked out as fast as she could grow them. She's now getting a week long private spa treatment in the brooder. I was trying to catch a friend to bring in with her when I noticed Betty Lou Brahma. She was nearly asleep standing up while all the others were sounding the intruder alarm and running amok. When I picked her up I realized she was skinny as a rail under all those feathers. And she had lost all the color in her face.
I brought her inside and gave her a closer inspection and determined she was knocking on heaven's door. I didn't think she would make it through the night. But she did. Then the next morning I realized that she hadn't emptied her crop over night. What's that you say? You don't know what a crop is? Oh, yeah, I forget ya'll aren't chicken obsessed like me. Well, a crop is a little storage space in the chicken's throat where they store food before it gets passed on to the gizzard. The gizzard is basically the equivalent to our stomach. Betty Lou Brahma's crop was clogged. And most likely had been for quite awhile. So she wasn't able to get any nutrition. Hence the rapid weight loss.
Luckily I was able to quickly hop on over to Backyard Chickens and determine the best method of curing an impacted crop. I needed to oil her up. Thank goodness we're studying Biology this year and happened to have an eyedropper handy. One dropper full of vegetable oil down the chicken's throat followed by a crop massage to break up the mass seemed to get things moving a little. A repeat treatment again the next morning followed by moistened feed and mega doses of NutraDrench poultry vitamins seems to be pulling her out of it. It's going to be awhile before she's herself again, but I think she's gonna make if after all.
I distinctly recall reading somewhere that chickens were low-maintenance pets. I need to find that and show it to the girls since they seem to have been out to lunch when that memo was passed around.