Today marks two weeks since the attack. Although her wound is still large and exposed, Buffy is much better, and it’s time to prepare her for life with her flock.
Yesterday was the perfect day to let her out with them; a warm, melty day, with enough snow remaining to keep the flock at home. Buffy’s cape isn’t long enough to fully cover her wound, so I trimmed up an old Victorian doll slip (yes, actually) to provide her with more coverage.
The girls didn’t seem too interested in her wound, but they were very, very interested in her little green sundress. Pip and Tallulah, in particular, just would not stop pecking at it. I know that a little pecking is unavoidable, and part of Buffy’s reintegration, but…there’s a limit.
Stepdaughter the Younger was dispatched to stand guard with the plant mister bottle. Every time Tallulah pecked at Buffy, she received a blast of water in the face. They say chickens can’t learn, but…she did seem to come to a Pavlovian understanding.
It was lovely to watch her with the flock, but there were tense moments, too. I couldn’t find her at one point, when the rest of the flock was across the round to the south. I don’t think I need to tell you the kind of thoughts that were occupying my mind as I searched for half an hour.
I finally found her by the furnace, under the pine tree, taking a dirt bath. Because a girl likes to feel pretty, even when she’s under the weather. When I returned and found her under the furnace, I decided enough was enough, and brought her inside for a rest.
She was out again in the afternoon, and doing well, if keeping herself apart from the flock. Then I watched her out the kitchen window for a bit, and saw she was behaving…oddly. She wasn’t grazing or scratching, just…standing there. With her head at an odd angle.
I brought her in, panicked, and tore off the clothes she was wearing. She had her head cocked way around to the right and could barely stand. When she reached for something with her beak, she missed. It looked…stroke-like.
We braced the entire family for a possible bad outcome, a terrible blow after two weeks of intensive care. And, then, two hours later…she was fine.
I have no explanation, and neither did Chicken Debbie. I can guess that she might have thrown a blood clot that had temporary neurological implications. She had had a great deal more exercise than usual, and she had laid her first egg in twelve days. It’s the best hypothesis we have. She spent the last two hours before sundown scratching in the courtyard leaves for bugs, right as rain.
So, we’ve stood down red alert, and I am continuing her re-integration. It’s hard to let her out of my sight, but I need to let her go back home.