Here’s another story about the urban chickens. I have to admit that research for the next novel is accumulating much faster and more conveniently than material for the one I’m currently writing. On which I should be concentrating. But we’re in the first crisis with Diana’s girls, and Nik (her British husband, once renowned for his dedication to reading the entirety of The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, love of scotch, fine scholarship, wit, and finding anything he can enthusiastically label “brilliant,” but now best known for his remarkably lurid ability to arouse hens) is, shall we say, intimately involved. My theory is that he may have just gone too far. Although mature in years, Nik is still cute and had a responsibility to realize his effect on these vulnerable young females. I contend that Meg mistook Nik for a rooster and she just couldn’t handle her passion. (See post of Sept. 12, 2011, for how Nik hits on the girls.)
This may take some creative visualizing, but apparently when chickens lay, a tube-like structure extrudes from them and the egg comes out of that. Then the tube retracts. Well, poor Meg, hyperexcited as I presume she was, ended up stuck with the tube out and an egg only halfway out of the tube. I hear from Diana that this is not a pretty sight.
In case these posts have convinced you to start raising chickens for fun and profit, you’ll want to know what new urban farmers should do if this occurs. After you freak out, I mean. First you call the very best vet you know, who tells you he doesn’t know a thing about chickens. Then you call the vet to whom he refers you, the farm animal specialist, but it will turn out that one doesn’t know about chickens either. However if you have a pig, a horse or a cow in your backyard, he can be of service. Diana might be easily persuaded to get a goat, but that’s a tangent we won’t follow today. So you quit on the “experts,” do hours of primary research only to find out that you’re supposed to get a firm grip on the hen with one hand and arm and use your other hand to yank the egg free. (It’s a lot harder if the egg is actually “bound,” meaning that it’s stuck up inside the chicken, but basically, once you figure out that there’s an egg stuck–which you do literally by feeling up there with your hand–it’s the same process.) Since this was all Nik’s fault to begin with, guess who got the job? And was actually successful. The egg was retrieved.
But afterward Meg kept acting sick and uncomfortable. She hid out in a corner of the run by herself, not moving, just opening and closing her beak. It was truly upsetting. Even the next day, she was no better. More research. This time it led Diana to come home from work early and draw a tub of warm water in her elegant marble bathroom. Next thing Meg knew, she was relaxing in a sitz bath, one of Diana’s hands holding each wing down and keeping her calm for twenty minutes. And Diana says Meg seemed to like it, occasionally cooing some pleasant girl talk back as Diana sympathized about the trouble attractive men cause.
Meg seems to be recovering. Of course, Nik is claiming the credit. He’s thinking of leaving his present employment and opening a chicken gynecology practice. He thinks it will be lucrative since the list of expenses is so small: a bright light, a mirror (for his head, he says, but I think he might be confusing himself with a dentist or a miner) and a set of tiny stirrups. My theory is that Diana’s research will always be the saving grace for “the girls.” And I hope she knows how grateful I am. My next novel should only take me half the normal amount of time to write.