Lady Lazarus


Please meet my illin’ chicken Ophelia.
I came home Friday after a long meeting to find a chicken floating, dead, in the communal chicken/turkey/pig water container. I thought she had fallen in and drowned. When I pulled the chicken out of the water I noticed that she had a huge cut on her head. Since one of the other chickens is missing feathers from the top of her head, I figured it must be the nefarious work of the turkeys. They are pretty brutal (I’ll be slaughtering them in a few days). Feeling glum, I tossed the dripping chicken in a bucket and carried her out to the garden where I bury dead animals. Then I saw her beak open and close. Another almost dead animal!
I wrapped her in a towel and whipped out the blow dryer. I sang her an Elliot Smith song, which she liked, especially with all that warm air blowing her soft under-feathers dry. Then I put some hydrogen perioxide on her wound. After more singing and blow drying she was warm and finally opened her eyes. She slept in our room during the party, neatly nested up in her towel. The next day I put her outside on the deck to recuperate with the duck, who had similar problems. She’s adjusting nicely and her wound seems to just be a superficial thing. Today I’m going to recruit another chicken from the yard to be her friend so when I reintroduce her to the flock, she won’t be alone.
An insta-urban farmer in Brooklyn said he found taking care of animals to be “miserable, soul-crushing work”. I raised a chicken from the dead by singing to her and using a simple tool invented by man. She’ll eventually bear me eggs. How can we consider this anything but the opposite of soul-crushing?

7 responses to “Lady Lazarus

  1. Riana Lagarde

    I hope that you don’t have the entire cast of Hamlet or 11 animals will be dead by the end.

    Oh yeh, you are killing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern soon….and the pigs? King Claudius and Queen Gertrude. Dead. Ok, don’t spoil the ending for me!!

  2. You saved Ophelia! I wonder why she was floating in the water? She must have fallen in and been too weak to get herself out?

    Ohh–I love hearing about your farm. I don’t live too far away, and part of me sooo verry much wants to come and visit you and your farm animals. They are all so delightful, and you have so much heart for all the life around you.

  3. Novella Carpenter

    cristine; you’re more than welcome to stop by! just let me know when. morning’s are good–like 8:30 i’m doing chores and stuff before going to work.

  4. You are amazing. I hope we can be 10% as successful as you when we start raising animals next spring. We’ll be seeking your advice. Hope you’ll be able to visit us on you trip next month. Duane and Robin at the funny farm in Atlanta.

  5. Poor baby, the turkeys sound like more of a hassle than is worthwhile, although come Thanksgiving, I’m sure you won’t think so.

  6. are you SERIOUS?! I would love it! I have several mornings a week free. But aren’t you leaving town soon? Ok, I just emailed you.

  7. I really like that you sang to Her. This is a really nice post.

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