My kids love that joke. (Heck, so do I.)
But really – guess what?
AAAARGH this has been A WEEK OF CHICKEN BUTT.
It started a few weeks ago, one of our hens (a Barred Rock, if it matters) developed a butt (for the lack of a better term . . . I suppose it’s actually her “abdomen” but that doesn’t accurately capture the physical location for purposes of your imagination) that looked sort of red and appeared to have fewer feathers than your standard chicken butt tends to have. But she seemed fine, walking and eating and clucking and doing all that chicken-y stuff, so we decided to just keep an eye on her.
Flash forward two weeks. My husband was out of town for the weekend and I was taking care of the chickens (it’s usually his chore, or privilege, as the case may be) and I noticed this little Barred Rock hen had a MASSIVE RED BUTT. With like, zero feathers on it. Now, I’m not sure the proper number of feathers that a chicken butt should have, but I’m pretty sure it’s more than zero. Something was clearly wrong.
I started Googling like mad: “huge red chicken butt,” “inflamed chicken butt,” you get the picture. (If anyone decides to review my online search history for any reason, it’s going to be full of totally weird shit like this. The truth is: I only write blog posts to cover up my bizarre internet searches. “WHY WOULD SHE BE WANTING TO LOOK AT CHICKEN BUTTS?!” “Let me explain myself, in blog form.”)
Anyway, what I landed on was that she must be egg-bound (where an egg can’t pass for some reason and it basically gets stuck in the oviduct). Why else would her rear be so freakin’ gigantic? What else could possibly be going on? Now, egg-bound chickens are apparently in risk of imminent death, so I started freaking out.
A farmer gal I know advised me to give the hen a series of vegetable oil enemas followed by epsom salt baths, and that egg should pop right out. Sounded good to me, so I brought her inside and proceeded to give her chicken enemas (same as human enemas, but with oil and in a chicken butt) and I put her in a bucket full of warm epsom salt water to soak. She didn’t seem pleased but she didn’t fight me either.
I think she knew I was *trying* to help. (Spoiler alert: whether I actually helped is anyone’s guess.)
We kept her inside overnight (for those of you who are wondering, chickens really don’t smell that great – keeping a chicken in my living room is not something I hope to do again any time soon) and the next morning she laid an egg. Hooray!! Hallelujah!! We fixed it!!
I was super stoked that she had laid an egg. But . . . butt.
Her butt was still big and red.
What the heck? At this point, I had to admit defeat. My incredibly limited poultry veterinary skills had officially been tapped out. I decided to call the vet.
The next morning, the hen and I went into the local vet’s office.
Now, let’s pause here for a minute. How many of you have been to a vet’s office? I would imagine it’s plenty of you.
How many times have you seen a chicken while you were there?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
I felt so out of place. But I didn’t know what else to do!
So there we were, me and the chicken in a cat carrier. The dogs and cats were VERY interested in what the heck was in there, let me tell you.
Anyway, we got into the examining room. They took her temperature (rectally of course – I’m starting to feel really bad for this chicken’s butt by this point) and weighed her. One vet examined her. He basically threw up his hands and said, “get Larry.”
“Larry,” apparently, is a vet who had a chicken farm at some point in his life. Larry poked and prodded, put his fingers inside her (THIS POOR CHICKEN), looked for blocked-up eggs, tested her for mites or something. Did lots of stuff.
STILL DIDN’T KNOW WHAT WAS WRONG.
But he gave me some antibiotic cream and wished me luck.
(Actually, he told me that we *could* administer oral antibiotics, which *might* help, but that we wouldn’t be able to eat her eggs for a month – ummmmmmmmmmm, I’m not an expert on telling apart chicken eggs, so there’s no way I would know which ones are hers once she goes back to the flock – and there’s NO WAY I’m having a chicken live in my house for a damn month. Hard pass on the oral antibiotics, thanks.)
So here we are. I’ve been slathering this mystery ointment all over this chicken’s red, shiny hiney (“abdomen”) and hoping for the best.
It does seem to be going down a bit, thankfully. Keep in mind, this pic is her looking GOOD. I don’t even have any “before” pictures, because I was not trying to remember that shit.
So there you have it. I’ve basically spent my whole week looking at a chicken butt. How’s your week going?
P.S. When I brought the chicken to the vet and had to sign in at the front desk, I had to write “N/A (chicken)” in the section for “Pet’s Name.” I felt so terrible, like the poor thing doesn’t even have a name. So the kids and I decided to name this one. Her name is: Bongo Baboon Butt.