On Thursday night when Paul went to put the chickens to bed he found that Mrs. Hen has passed two egg yolks (no shells or anything). He cleaned up the mess (well, pulled it out and the chickens descended upon it and gobbled it up-they can be very cannibalistic in that way (though it’s not really cannibalism) and you should not let your hens do it) and we thought it weird, but didn’t think much more. Then, on Saturday afternoon we noticed that Mrs. Hen (they are finally named–Mrs. Hen, Floppy, and Pecky) was lying down a lot and closing her eyes. I picked her up and looked under feathers at her vent (where the egg comes out). It did not look good–a bone was coming out of it. I had read of prolapse in various animals, including chickens, but this seemed especially odd to have this sharp bone coming out of it. I put some antiseptic on it. I sincerely hoped she would die on her own. Sunday morning she looked worse-it was sticking out further and looked kind of gross. We discussed it with our farm neighbor and he agreed that the best course of action would be to wring Mrs. Hen’s neck. As you might guess, neither Paul nor I feel ready to do this. We went off to a birthday party and hoped Mrs. Hen would be peacefully dead upon our return. She wasn’t, she was up on her perch for the night, nestled next to Floppy. This morning she was the second one out the door and started scratching about. This afternoon a check of her vent shows the bone is no longer in sight! It actually looks pretty normal! She happily gobbled up some bread from my hand. I don’t know what the hell this means. I really don’t know how she can survive this, but I’m happy I do not have to put her out of misery for the time being and happy today’s post was not titled “R.I.P. Mrs. Hen”
*full disclosure-the photo is not of Mrs. Hen, I think it’s of Pecky (the mean one, as you might guess), but I really like the picture.