“I don’t like animals.”
This is a statement that I am sometimes forced to make. It makes people recoil in horror and think terrible thoughts about poor, soulless me. However, a fairly recent occurrence has given me a story to tell that makes people much more sympathetic towards me. They might even think I still have a heart.
Enter story of a chicken.
It began last February, when my siblings, got an incubator and 12 eggs to hatch from the 4H club. We knew that it was not likely for all the eggs to hatch.
At the beginning of March, 8 adorable little chicks hatched. We were soooo excited (yes, even me, the animal-hater!) That night, the 9th chick peeped (I believe that is the proper term for making a tiny hole in the egg) a hole in her egg. Yes, I made it a girl. However, she didn’t come out. For days. I would sit by the incubator and watch her rock the egg and make pathetic peeping sounds. It was so sad. I wanted to break the shell off her but we read that if we did, she could die because her blood supply was attached to the shell and if we broke it she would bleed to death. We read that if it takes more than a couple hours for a chicken to get out of their shell, they can become stuck to the egg. We assumed that that had happened so we began patting her shell with a warm washcloth, hoping to loosen the membrane. I went to bed on Friday night crying because I thought that poor little chicken was going to die.
Yes, crying. In fact, sobbing.
Imagine my joy when I woke up the next morning and found that little chicken out of her shell. I was so elated and named her Daphne. However, I soon discovered that Daphne’s fight was not over. She was so tiny, much smaller than the other chickens. She also had a scissorbeak, which means that her top beak did not fit over her bottom beak, but was crossed over. A scissorbeak can make eating difficult or impossible.
Daphne wouldn’t eat anything and I didn’t know what to do. Once again, I was crying. I would hold her and force her to eat and drink water. Finally, she got where I thought she was going to survive.
Then I noticed that Daphne was scared of all the other chickens. She would lie down to sleep but if one of the others made a single noise, she would jump back up. As you might imagine with 8 chickens, there was a lot of noise, which meant Daphne was not sleeping at all.
I would sit by the chicken crate to do my homework, watching to make sure the chicks weren’t picking on Daphne. All of a sudden, she started twitching and flailing around the cage. I was horrified. My family thought Daphne was also having neurological problems. I was crying again. But I thought that maybe the reason Daphne was having these problems was because she wasn’t getting any sleep. After all, doesn’t not having sleep make people crazy? So that night, I held her for hours and hours. I wrapped her in a washcloth and she fell asleep. She was so cute. I began doing that every night when I got home from school. While I was gone, my brothers and sister would hold her occasionally so she could get some sleep. She stopped having her seizures. And guess what?? Boatloads of tears later, Daphne is now a healthy and strong chicken… or rather, a rooster! :-)
There. I’m not so soulless after all.