So my mother-in-law lives in the country, not far from us, but on 7 or so acres. She has a plethora of animals, not limited to 4 Jack Russel
terrors terriers, 2 cats, a pond worth of fish and now, 14 chickens. Well 13. Anyway, when they travel (which is often) Tom and I house/animal sit. It's a lot of work, but there are perks - a complete gym, a hot tub, a log cabin, and some cash, but I'm not going to lie... it's a lot of work!
So this Sunday, she called because they were leaving. One of her favorite chickens is sick. For some reason it's neck is turned up and it's beak is facing the ceiling. She expects it to die while she's gone and gives us instructions on how to dispose of the chicken when it does since the ground is frozen. Lovely.
(Now I need to add, I'm not a fan of the chickens. They freak me out. They are mean. They peck at me. They fly in small spaces. The smell funny. And I hate eggs)
So for the last few days, I've been on chicken duty in the mornings and hubby takes care of them in the evening. They live in this cute little coop: And each morning I go out to feed them, make sure they have water, and take in any eggs that have been left.
The sick chicken has been looking baaaad. We get a call from my mother-in-law that she found a vet that would take a look at it (and in our farm town, there really aren't that many around that deal with chickens). Just so happens that Tom is waiting for a delivery of carpet at our house and yours truly has morning chicken duty AND vet duty. We put the chicken (who for all we know has some bird flu or something) in a cat crate and I put it in the back of my father-in-law's car. I literally shutter the entire way to the vet which is 35 minutes away because it freaks me out to be in a car with a chicken, let alone a sick chicken.
You see... I dreamed of being a lot when I was young. A teacher, a doctor, a scientist, a wife, a mom - but NEVER a farmer... or a chicken raiser.
I get to the vet, bring said sick chicken in for an exam. The vet is super nice, but starts asking me if I've looked into the bird's eyes, and a bunch of other questions that finally got answered with a "this isn't my chicken and quite frankly, I'm not really fond of the animals so I just do what I need to do". He tells me that the bird is having seizures and possibly has brain damage. We get my mother-in-law on the phone and he finally tells her that it would probably be best to put the chicken down and get some tests done to make sure that it didn't have an infection that will make the other 13 chickens die. She agrees.
Now I'm stuck with signing the paper work to put the poor 3 pound bird down.
The kicker - I need to bring it 45 minutes away for an autopsy.
I can't make this up people.
So they do what they need to do, put the bird in a bag, kindly put it back in the cat carrier for me and in my trunk and I drive it across town for the autopsy.
We'll have the results in a few days.