What would I do without Chicken Debbie?! It’s too terrifying to even contemplate. This woman redefines “aftercare”.
It’s been a week since the attack, and Buffy has been doing very well. She has been, from the very beginning, alert, eating, drinking, pooping. She has been able to walk, flap her wings, hop up onto something about a foot high, and even fly a little bit. She is unreasonably functional.
There have been no more eggs since Monday’s, thank heaven. I suspect her eggmaker shut down immediately when she was attacked, so her body could redirect those considerable physical resources to healing. The one she laid Monday was probably complete at the time of the attack, just waiting to be laid. I have been giving it to her a few times a day to brood, which she does, unfailingly. It gives her a sense of purpose, keeps her quiet and calm, plus, hello….adorable.
Yesterday, Buffy spent a few hours with her whole flock, the beginning steps of rehabilitation and reintegration. In the early morning, I lured the flock into the gated courtyard with mealworms, and released Buffy from the lodge. The good news is that none of them attacked Buffy, picked at her, or even particularly noticed her. The less good news is that Buffy spends much of the time to the side, even keeping herself with her face hidden in a corner. She knows she’s vulnerable.
About half an hour later, I took her to spend time with the flock inside the barn. It was a terribly windy day yesterday, and I thought I’d better confine the chickens, if only so they wouldn’t blow away. Buffy seemed quite at home in the barn, if still isolating herself from the rest.
She’s naked, now. The dresses were really irritating her, and I thought she could be trusted leave the wound alone, which she has, for the most part. I was a little concerned the other girls would go for the crater in her rump, but they ignored it. I was feeling pretty good and self-satisfied about the whole thing, until a good gust of wind came up and blew Buffy’s feathers apart. Then I was able to fully see the extent of the damage.
It’s horrifying. To me, anyway. I hate to keep going on about this, but…seriously. Horrifying. If Buffy’s body were a sphere, and you were to bisect the sphere along all three axes, I could quite confidently say that the upper right hind eighth is gone. Down to the bone, and beyond. Just…gone. Carved away.
And that doesn’t begin to take into consideration all the places where she’s merely plucked. I was really hoping Chicken Debbie would give her a good report card this morning.
And, she did. She is very pleased with how well Buffy is doing, but agreed that the injury was much more extensive than she first thought. There is no sign of infection or necrosis, and she says the wound smells good. The new muscle is growing in a little tight, because Blu-Kote is quite drying, so we are switching to a bi-daily application of antibiotic ointment. Debbie cut away a number feathers on the periphery of the wound, feathers that were damaged, or getting in the way of the healing. We had to carefully peel a few out of scabbing skin. A sucking in breath through your teeth moment, and make no mistake.
The wound is much more exposed now, and I don’t think Buffy wants to wear a dress again, so we’re switching to large 4″ x 4″ adhesive bandages, stuck to the surface feathers on the edges of the wound. Air can still get in, but she can’t. It will take some experimentation, but I think it will work.
I couldn’t think of any new ways to thank Debbie, yet again, so I just hugged her and gave her a dozen eggs (her girls aren’t laying right now).
She thinks Buffy will take another week or two to be ready to live outside full time. There are several reasons why she is cold-sensitive right now, as you might imagine. We had hoped she’d be out of the house soon, because Stepdaughter the Younger has developed a nasty cough in response to Buffy’s continued presence (no more watching movies with the chickens!), and because it’s The Man’s birthday Friday, and we’re throwing a party.
But, she needs more time, so more time she shall have. She’s sleeping on her egg at the moment. She had a very hard morning.