Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Hillbilly Animal Shelter...

I have a weakness for animals. Several years ago, some acquaintance-of-a-friend-of-a-friend had a cat they no longer wanted. Vic had seen the cat, and over the course of a couple of days must have asked me 200 times to bring it home. We already had two cats in our little house and I was in no hurry to increase the number of animals we were responsible for. But then the report came, through the chain of people who knew people, that the owners of the cat had stopped feeding her. "We're getting rid of her anyway," they said, "So why buy any more food for her if we're just going to give her away." This is how we got Foxy. Despite her bipolar disorder and overall weirdness, we made a home for her. I just couldn't stand the idea of some poor animal starving.
Then there was the time we found an injured turtle on the road and brought it home to recover before releasing it again. And the time we bought a ferret at a garage sale because the owners said they didn't take him out of the cage, and confessed they'd never taken him to the vet. And the time we hand-fed baby birds that fell from a nest outside our house. Rescued and relocated baby rabbits. Fed the wild opossums and raccoons outside our back door in the winter. I probably can't even remember everything we've done, often by my begging and whining request, to help an animal.

Then my country friend J called about one of his "juvenile delinquent" chickens. The last hatch this year, there was one light colored chicken in the batch of black bantams. A little hen that was smaller than the rest. J said when he went to close up the chickenhouse for the night, all the other chickens, including the mother hen, were crowded together on the perch, while this little hen was huddled by herself, cold and shivering on the floor. She'd been pecked by the others and was holding one of her eyes closed. If you want to know the truth of it, I think my friend knows my weakness and was using it against me. I think he also knows Cadence shares my love of animals and would be delighted to be the stand-in chicken mama.

So we have a new "pet" chicken. We've yet to name her, but this website says chickens can learn their names and actually be very affectionate. I've yet to see affection from the little hen, but she is getting more comfortable with being held and carried around. She makes peeping noises constantly, sometimes long after we've covered up her cage for the night. The GBH would love to eat her. The kids barely let her little chicken feet touch the ground. Because of the cold, the lack of a suitable outdoor home, and her small size, we'll be letting her stay in the house through the winter. My plan is to return her to her chicken family at my friend's place as soon as she's big enough to defend herself, probably in the spring. I was thinking of something like this for her to stay in when she outgrows the aquarium:The bottom lined with newspapers, something like this would be perfect for a little chicken.
Now that we have a pet chicken, I think we've gone past the point of denying we're rednecks.


Frankie said...

Awwww....this touches me! Love your chicken and give it hugs from Thomas and I.

Ami said...

My hubby took me to the local farm supply a couple springs ago to look at all the baby ducks, geese and chickens. In one of the stock tanks they had them in, the chicks were crowded around a small one, and had pecked it nearly to death. It utterly broke my heart. When we told the store about it, they said, yeah, lots of them die that way, then we just throw them out.


I know there's some old saying about how you can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat their dog or by how they treat the least among us... so it says a lot about you that you're willing to take in a chicken.

Christine said...

You should check freecycle for a pen like that, someone had one over the summer and I thought, "Naah, I don't need it." Now we're getting more guinea pigs and wish I had.

dawn said...

That is quite funny (the line about rednecks). My friend in Australia lived in town, and her sister gave her a chicken based on similar circumstances. They had her for a year or so, and would say "chook chook, do you want to watch tv?". Then they would sit to watch tv and she would sit on the arm of the couch and watch with them. She was an indoor outdoor chicken and one day was missing. My friend's husband works for public works as a trash collector, and about 3 weeks after the chicken was missing, went into the shop and heard a guy talking. He said "Strangest thing, this chicken showed up at our place, and it thinks it is a dog". My friend got her chicken back and it lived another 6 months.

They can make pretty good pets. Have fun with it. Oh, if you want to check out our new pet, go to Sirdar's blog from my side bar and scroll down, and see what we have hanging out on our back step.

Holly said...

You're not a redneck; you're in on the latest trend. Raising chickens is in (spkoen by a woman who would never raise a bird, who hates birds, who was traumatized by turkeys in her childhood).

Robinella said...

You have a really big heart. I'll look forward to seeing how having a chicken for a pet goes.

Erin said...

Cats keep turning up at our house. I think I have "Sucker!" written on my back fnce or something. Thank God no chickens have showed up here, looking for a home!

I tagged you for the Wonder Woman award. It;s on my blog, here:

Love ya!

Lisa said...

Good for you. I just don't have it any more. There was a time any stray would find thier way into my house. I once had a cat that I thought was a stray until it jumped up on my toilet and used it. Turned out it live a street over. Would hang out at my place 3 or 4 days then go back for a few days. Spoiled thing.

We have a lot of wildlife around our place. I have on occassion tried to save some injured bunny. No more.I just don't have the time and energy for any babes I didn't bring into this world myself, heartless bitch that I am. lol

GailV said...

I swear I recently read a story about a college student who was babysitting an incubator, and one of the eggs didn't hatch correctly, so she helped it along and ended up fostering the chicken (or was it a duck?). It used to follow her around campus, since it thought she was its mama.

Now this is driving me nuts, trying to figure out where I read this. Aargh.