The good news is that Buffy is getting better. The bad news is that Buffy is getting better.
Since I released her back into the world of the naked, she has been much happier. She has also been much busier…picking at herself. Yes, the bandage covers the worst of the damage, but this hasn’t stopped her from feather picking herself on the good side of her tail. Her artful comb-over hid this fact until yesterday afternoon, when I realised her butt was BARE on the left side. Which would explain the feathers I’ve been finding in the crate. Sigh.
So, she needed something to keep her honest, but the dresses were irritating her. I first though to modify a chicken diaper (yes, an actual real thing), thinking it would look something like a diaper for human babies, and I could, paradoxically, cut out a hole for her to poop through. Easy peasy, right?
Except that it turns out chicken diapers bear less resemblance to a human baby diaper than they do to a horse’s feed bag, just strapped onto the other end, to manage the opposite end of the digestive cycle:
(Please remember, gentle reader, that I am not anywhere near creative enough to make this shit up.)
Okay. Not chicken diapers. What about a chicken saddle? Yes, also a real thing, used for bareback hens with overenthusiastic roosters:
Or for chickens going through a bad molt:
Okay, he/she needs to be stopped. That’s just WRONG.
My need was immediate and my budget low, so I turned to a great DIY page, dug up an old shirt that had belonged to The Man, the waistband of a pair of fuzzy pants outgrown by Stepdaughter the Younger, and set to work.
Yes, gentle reader, I sewed a garment for a chicken. By hand. I think this puts me in a whole new place. (I can hear you, Gail, and yes, you still need to be collecting turkey feathers; this changes nothing.) It was GORGEOUS. Why “was”? Read on, MacDuff…
Buffy went to bed naked, sleeping on her egg. When I uncovered the crate this morning, I found feathers inside. Sigh. Upon closer inspection, I found that the feathers were still attached to skin, about two inches of it, which Buffy had peeled off herself. Now, I’m going to show it to you, so please prepare yourself for the fact that you may never eat chicken skin again:
Clearly, Buffy can not be allowed to be naked any longer. I got out her new saddle, crisp white cotton with plus fuchsia straps, looking so much like a cape that I found myself longing for an iron-on decal of Superman’s symbol. Buffy took one look at it and gave me the sideways stink eye.
Here’s the thing. When I cut up the waistband last night, the pieces were 5″ long, and the pattern calls for them to be 5.5″, with snaps on the ends. So, I thought to myself: I know! I’ll just sew both ends of the straps to the cape, and slip her wings through the loops! It’ll be long enough that way, and I don’t have snap, in any event.
See, feathers are definitely uni-directional, and I was going the wrong way. On top of that, the loops were too tight. I wasn’t pretty. After Buffy spent some time in the courtyard with her sisters pecking at it, I decided cut the straps to get it of her, and go back to the drawing board.
In the meantime, she’s in a new dress, donated by Wendy last weekend. She is unhappy.