Chicken keeping is a fickle mistress.
One minute there are six happy and well chickens. The next minute, one becomes very out of sorts, and Short Tony is forced to dip his finger in olive oil in order to stick it up its jacksy.
“I’ve done the olive-oiled finger thing,” he tells me. I swear that there is an aggrieved tone in his voice, if it is possible to have an aggrieved tone in his voice via SMS message. Clearly, I have picked a good time to visit my parents for the day.
We have a short telephone conversation, mainly about the process and results of him having to stick his finger up its jacksy. My mother and father look on, oddly. “Are you SURE you didn’t try to have sex with it?” asks Short Tony. I look around the living room, and decide that it is best just to reply with a ‘no’.
Booooooo – there is a chicken with chicken problems. We were all excited the previous night, as we thought that it was about to lay an egg. It was sitting down a lot, and then sort of bouncing awkwardly on both legs, as if it were on an invisible chicken spacehopper that was ever so slightly too big for it. However, no egg appeared and now it does not seem to be able to stand or move at all.
“I’ll give Len the Fish a ring,” sighs Short Tony. Len the Fish knows all about farming stuff. He turns up later on, out of the goodness of his heart. Short Tony passes him the olive oil.
There is apparently a condition called an ‘Egg Bound Hen’ which is very rare and unlikely to happen, but involves the egg getting stuck on the way out. Clearly its rarity works proportionately to the fuckwitteddom of the person to which the chicken belongs. I try to envisage what the symptoms would be if I had an egg stuck on the way out, using role play, and it seems to fit the chicken’s behaviour.
I receive another communication. There is definitely no egg up there. I get some advice to feed it some olive oil. Short Tony feeds it some olive oil. Different olive oil.
We are a bit stumped now. The chicken is in the emergency isolation ward (Short Tony’s conservatory) and has been given a hot bath and stuff. It does not seem to be able to walkat all, but also does not seem to be particularly distressed; its eyes are bright and it is pecking at food. I do not think that it is just a lazy chicken, though. Perhaps it has had some form of stroke. It is not bird flu. Poor chicken. Can anybody help?