Their chicken had been limping for some time, but never this bad. She’d already had one trip to the vet. The vet had given them some anti-inflammatory medication, which was administered orally via syringe. The used syringes had lain discarded around the house in various cupboards, much to the consternation of enquiring mothers and fathers in law.
Enquiring mother or father in law: “What is this for?”
Son or Daughter in Law: “It’s for the chicken. She has a bad leg.”
For a number of months things seemed better. The leg didn’t heal completely, but their chicken had survived the great Queensland heat wave of 2014 without dropping so much as a feather, and they presumed she would hobble, nay, amble along merrily for the rest of her clucky days – a lame, lone comic foul. They’d even put her limp down to her sleeping habits.
Matt or Bec to house guest: “She sleeps on her leg funny. We go in there at night and it’ll be tucked way under. You know how you get a dead leg if you sit on it funny? We think that might be it.” It was pure veterinary science.
But on Saturday morning things looked bad.
Bec: We should take her to the vet.
Matt: I don’t know. She’s not even laying eggs at the moment. Maybe her time is up. Chickens aren’t like wild eagles or anything, they’ve been bred over thousands of years to lay eggs and be McNuggets. They’re not athletes.
Bec: I think we should at the very least give her some aspirin. The vet said we could give her baby aspirin. Can you look up baby aspirin on your phone and see what the dose is?
Matt: No. Let’s just put her on the chopping block.
Bec: I’m Googling ‘baby aspirin chickens’.
Matt: OK. I’ll help.
Bec: What have you found?
Matt: It says here you can cut a hole in the corner of a pillow case and stick their head through that, so you can hold them steady without them flapping, and when you’re finished, you can just hold the pillow case upside down and the blood will drain out. I promise I won’t use your Laura Ashley pillowcases again. So, can we do it?
Bec: Did you Google ‘baby aspirin chicken’ or ‘best way to chop chicken’s head off’?
Matt: ‘Baby aspirin chicken’.
Bec: I don’t believe you. Show me your phone.