This chicken is in the infirmary right now. The infimary being a big cat cage in the garage.
I'm not completely sure what's wrong with her, but she's all droopy and pathetic, and her bottom was all filthy and oozey (with mucus, or maybe egg white) yesterday. There was some blood then too, but hasn't been since then.
So, I'm pretty sure that the problem is that an egg broke inside her. That can be a pretty serious thing, so I'm not too hopeful that she'll make it.
I am doing the best for her that I can, though. She's on antibiotics in her water. She's drinking water at a much higher rate than usual. I've been feeding her scrambled egg, yogurt, applesauce, and other tidbits to tempt her, like canned corn and cornbread.
She's got the cage to herself in a quiet, relatively warm place, and free access to layer crumbles as well. I even had the radio in the garage going for her earlier, just to give her some company, but I shut that off for the rest of the day, in case it seemed threatening to her, since it's an unfamiliar sound.
She seems uncomfortable, but not suffering. If she were suffering, I would end that. We won't be taking her to the vet, she's not a pet, and she's two years old and possibly almost ready to be culled anyway.
I am grateful to her for two years of entertainment, good nutrtion, and a tiny bit of income (like the occasional farming magazine bought with leftover feed money). I think that animals that are not in the realm of "pet" but of "livestock" enter into a sort of evolutionary business deal with us. We owe them humane treatment, and we use them for nourishment. Michael Pollan, Joel Salatin, and Barbara Kingsolver express this point of view more clearly in their books, if you're interested in the topic.
Because I've done my best to make sure the life she's lived with us has been as full of the things that chickens "love" as I could make it (those things that allow them to most fully follow their natual insticts and express their full "chicken-ness", to mangle a phrase from Joel Salatin), I will also help her through her illness to the best of my ability and, if it comes to that, make her end as comfortable and humane as possible.
If anyone has any tips for what else I could do for her, I'd love to know your thoughts. I do realize that lots of people will do an "internal exam" of sorts, and I did don the latex gloves, but I couldn't bring myself to do it, she seemed so tender and uncomfortable. If that's absolutely needed, it's going to have to wait till Ben gets home. Other than that, let me know. Thanks!