Spare a thought for Chilli, the ISA Brown x Leghorn x Australorp chicken who became blind sometime after her first birthday, possibly during Melbourne’s Xmas heatwave. Not sure exactly when or how it happened – I was having a great old time in Gelnelg, Adelaide with the family at the time, and during my weekly reports from Dad, got the news that Chilli ‘wasn’t quite right’….
Indeed, on my return some two weeks later, poor Chilli was in fact as blind as a bat, and being badly treated by her sisters, Salt and Pepper (yes creativity is running strong here). So I gave her a bath, tried to find some obvious sign to her blindness and otherwise difficulty in walking. A Google diagnosis followed, it seems she was suffering from a combination of 23 different poultry ailments, from skin ticks to H1N1.
After about a fortnight of feeding her through a syringe, and dunking her head in a bucket to drink water, Chilli regained the power of sight. But while I took the credit for returning vision to the blind, not all of her came back to normal – this was Chilli the chicken zombie!
So one of the many things that Chilli does now is roost in trees, but only found that out the hard way. Having lost her in the backyard for a whole day, I asked my son to have a look for her. Within 2 minutes he’d spotted her, sitting comfortably in an Apricot tree, and not wanting to get off of it.
It is possible to learn things while standing around trying to coax a chicken zombie down from an Apricot tree. The first thing was that the fig tree (to the left of said chicken) was finally starting to force out fruit, in what had already been a poor year for growing figs. That was good.
The second thing was that most of the Warrigal Greens (garden bed below), had died off in the Summer heat, and that was bad, because I’d been using that to feed myself and the two not yet blind and zombified chickens.
So I thanked Chilli for leading me to those findings, and carefully picked her out of the tree and once again repeated the process of dunking her into water and then trying to get some food into her.
Thus ends the first installment of Chilli the blind chicken. If she is still going next month, or not yet at the stage where she is compelled to eat the flesh of the living, I will provide another update.
Although, a chicken compelled to do that would make a great post, so either way look at for the next instalment!