The $168 Chicken
So, vet day arrives. I put Butters in the cat carrier and drive. I have to say, chickens are a lot easier to ferry back and forth than say, cats. They generally hunker down and don't utter a peep. After the requisite wrong turns that seem inherent for any new location (for me), I arrive at the Exotic Animal Vet. The receptionist was the kind I love, especially when I'm somewhere for the first time. I'm here for a 2:30, with Butters, I say and she just looks at me. So, I go sit down. There's a lone guy in the tiny waiting room, with a small parrot on his shoulder. I'm sure he's looking at my chicken and thinking 'fffttt'. The receptionist rouses herself from her singular catatonia and gives me a clipboard with some crap to fill out, asking for spouses and family members and anyone else they can hound for the bill. After a fairly uneventful vet exam I go back out to the waiting room to wait for the results of the fecal float (which conjures up images of root beer and chicken shit). Some hipster dude comes in with a laundry sack containing some mystery animal. A mountainous man comes in to retrieve his Amazon parrot and I overhear (hard not to) the bill being discussed: around $900. Finally, the doctor comes out and says the crap tested positive for coccidiosis, which is no big, but it's better not to have it. So, antibiotics for Butters (translated: they don't have a clue why she's limping), stuff to put in their water and $168 poorer, I left, blinking. Oh well. I've decided that what I don't know about chickens, I'm going to learn so that I don't feel so mystified every time something goes wrong with them. But in the end, I have a new catch phrase. When someone posits an unanswerable question, I will now say: Well, that's the $168 chicken, now isn't it?
More flack with the flock
Apparently, after last weekend's fretting about Ester and Beulah, respectively, Butters was feeling neglected, so she decided to develop a limp. This has happened with Ester before, but it cleared up in a day. Butter's been gimping around for 2, so today I made my first appointment with the only (so far....) vet in Seattle who sees chickens. So, hopefully, they will know their stuff and I will have a resource for future issues. As is, I feel like I've been in an intensive animal husbandry class but forgot to study. Or something.
No thing is 'just' anything
From the beginning, Ester's appearance in my life was clearly significant. I am of the school of There Are No Accidents. She was as meant for me at that moment as I was for her. I have no doubt that I saved her life and in ways that still remain too elusive to articulate, she has been saving mine in our nearly two years together, or perhaps trying to.
When a drunk stops drinking, that's not the end of it. To really step over that threshold to something sane and even sacred, you have to acknowledge you're not the end all, be all. As Tyler Durden said: You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else. So in that vein, I am Ester and Ester is me. There is no distinction. NO THING IS JUST ANYTHING. Ester is not just a chicken anymore than I'm just a human. This I have come to understand and since Ester is the messenger, I choose to regard her as a higher power to myself. Yes, I know she's a chicken. But she's not just a chicken. In seeing this and understanding this, I have for the first time experienced the sacred, the spiritual, the something outside of myself and out of all ourselves yet contained in every one of us. Ester is God.
Gone fishin' but now I'm back.

I apologize for my half-assed posting. I just haven't felt it lately. When my blog is boring me, I can only imagine the reaction of those few who read it (or probably don't anymore, since I've been away from the table for so long).

I've been sort of mulling over what exactly I want this effort to be about. And I think Saturday's events sort of pointed my pointy head in the right direction. All in all, it was a terrible weekend, all chicken-centric. Saturday, Ester, who has stopped laying and begun leaving poops around that looked like they had egg yolk in them, just sat around with her feathers fluffed, sleeping periodically. 'Full of sleep' is what another chicken friend calls it, when they are about to die. So, there was a lot of sobbing and almost a purchase of a bottle of wine in there. She didn't die and I didn't drink. By the beginning of the evening, she seemed her old self: then I realized all the time I'd spent agonizing over her, Beulah had her own potential life threatening situation going on. She spent most of the day Saturday and all day Sunday on the nest. She routinely has issues with her laying and I keep hoping she'll go through the chicken change or something, and just stop. But of course, the fear is them being egg-bound, whereby the egg can break inside them and the shell cut up their insides. Saturday, I'm online scrutinizing pictures of chicken shit (for the record, this egg-in-crap seems to be an anomaly) and Sunday, I'm looking for things to do if your chicken is egg bound. One, is to lube up a finger - sigh - and stick it up their vent and see if you can direct the egg to where it's supposed to be. So, I got out the Vaseline (I would've used Slippery Stuff, but didn't want her to get the wrong idea) and it took me a little while to figure out where was what and I was reminded of my early forays into girl sex (upshoot: not for me) where I didn't know where the hell anything was, it was just all a warm sea of mush. Well, pretty similiar with chickens. More than warm: hot. I couldn't feel any egg, Beulah sat curious and still for the whole procedure - occasionally making a soft bra-rooo? noise. Much hand washing later, I decided to put her in a warm bath, as that's another recommendation, as it's supposed to relax them. So, we did that, in the kitchen sink, for about 10 minutes and then Beulah started to get antsy to get out. Then I did some blow drying and towel drying and she was quite a good sport about it all and in the bathwater I found a rubbery egg shell. She'd passed one of these the week before. I've fed them oyster shells for calcium but everything seems a bit off. Even Butters, who used to be relied upon for one a day, is now laying 2-3 eggs a week. Aside from that weirdness, and Ester's sleepy Saturday, they seem fine.

During all this, I'm reading Mary Karr's memoior, Lit, about being a drunk. She ends up finding God, then becoming Catholic, no less, so we part there. But to not be a dry drunk, you do have to identify a higher power and then supplicate.
This is where Ester comes in.
More tomorrow.
One cat's craps is another chicken's crack.
Occasionally Dinsdale gets the squirts and as he's a long haired cat, it's a situation you want to stop, immediately. One thing that works is baby food: a day or so on that, and things solidify. Both cats find it delicious but the chickens just go insane. The stuff smells worse than regular cat food (I often wish I could convert the cats to vegan, but I can already see the movie: they would hound me relentlessly until I caved and flung a can of grisly substance at them), but the jars are great for mixing and storing paint.
The weather has been typically Spring in Seattle: bipolar. And it's effects are somewhat manic/depressive as well. Sunshine = the car practially starts itself and drives instinctively to the nearest nursery. Clouds and rain = hunker inside and paint. A day that combines all three makes me feel like Sybil. The green and the green and the green.......