Poor Harriet is sick. On top of it all, she’s molting badly (her whole underside and most of her neck is naked). And, of course, as it happens with such things, Harriet has always been one of my favorites.
She’s a favorite amongst the children that stream through the yard as well. She tolerates holding and loving. For hours. Without complaint. She tolerates picture ops wearing Christmas hats. She sits on the bricks by the fence and chats with me in the summer sun. She’s an excellent mother. And a great source of entertainment. (Like how she skips when she runs. How can you not smile at that?)
She’s a good chicken. And, well, yes. I love her.
So, Harriet is in the garage in her own spa. I’ve got a diffuser going with some safe-for-chickens essential oils to help with her congestion and germs (bonus benefit: the garage doesn’t smell like a sick chicken). I’ve got a heater going because she’s more than half naked and it’s freezing. I make her anything for breakfast—scrambled eggs, oatmeal, cut up pears, cottage cheese, shredded cheese, diced meat—anything that will coax her into eating.
I’m also giving her medicine via a syringe. It’s even grape flavored. Harriet doesn’t exactly appreciate it, but I can’t say I love the process either. While I’m at it, I squirt extra water down her. I’m getting pretty good at it, actually. More of it ends up in her than on me, which is a great improvement.
A friend, who happens to be a cat vet (with limited chicken experience but she’s the one who helped with Peep’s bumblefoot surgery), suggested that I put her in the bathroom when I shower, to allow her lungs to breathe in some humid, warm air. This is in hopes that she will stop sounding like Darth Vader.
Turns out, Harriet likes the bathroom. She eats better in there. Why? I don’t know. Yet, because she’s my favorite and because I want her well, our morning ritual has become breakfast for Harriet, hot-longer-than-usual shower for me (to get the air super steamy).
Chickens don’t make the best breakfast-in-the-bathroom guests. It’s also not super relaxing to take a long hot shower when there’s a chicken lose in the bathroom. Who knows what she’s doing, or what she might be pooping on for that matter. But, we’re getting by.
As with all things chicken, it’s tough to know if Harriet is going to pull through. She’s holding her own right now. But it’s a moment by moment fight. I hope she wins. And I’m doing everything I can to make winning possible for her.
It’s just the things we do for love. Even for a chicken.
PS I thought I’d leave you with one of my favorite Harriet videos…I put frozen Easter eggs under her to try to cool her off and break her broodiness. It didn’t work. But it was entertaining! Watch it HERE.