Nimbus is ill

Much has been happening since I last wrote.

My chicken Nimbus is very sick. She has a prolapsed cloaca. A chicken’s cloaca is what she lays eggs out of, as well as what she poops and pees out of. Nimbus also had a kidney infection. I located an avian vet here in town and we took her in, and she was put on antibiotics, as well as a care regime.

Soon fly season will begin, the vet says. Then flies will lay eggs in her sore bottom, and the eggs will hatch into maggots. And that will be extremely unpleasant. Her health will continue to decline. So we will let things play out for now, give her some good grass eating, and some more time with Dundren. And either nature will take its course, or I will have her put down. I’m expecting that she will be with us for another month and a half or so.

She is behaving normally, but I can tell that she is stressed, because the skin around her eyes has turned a purplish color, which happens whenever she is dehydrated or the like. Basically whenever her body is stressed.

Nimbus is my favorite chicken. She is wild, and she looks it. I always thought she looked more like a pigeon than a chicken. She hides her nests when she broods. You would think that a brightly spotted black and white chicken would be easy to find in an urban yard. You are wrong. She is stealthy. She used to love to sleep high up in tree branches. And she survived a hawk attack. She is an amazing being.

I am both sad and realistic. Nimbus is a pet, but also a farm animal. Urban chickens fall somewhere in between these two categories. She is dear to me, and I hold her. She eats out of my hand and lets me pet her. Then again, she is skittish and independent. I know that she is rapidly approaching the end of her days here on earth with us. This is sad. It also just is. She has lived 5 1/2 years. Most of that time she has free ranged. She has always lived with one best friend. They do everything together. It has been a decent life at least.

I don’t think any of us would truly enjoy the living conditions of a chicken, which is something to give great thought to as you arrange your chicken coop. Do unto others as you would have done unto you. Hence the free ranging and tree sleeping. Now that is a bit more like it. A dark coop with bare ground? No thank you.

So as we prepare to say good bye to Nimbus, and as she prepares to depart, I plan for the future. I have two female friends, each of whom has one chicken who is being picked on by the rest of the flock. I think we will take these ladies in, let them grow their feathers back, then introduce them to our ladies. So our flock may number 4 for a while, but soon it will number 3.

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About Erin O'Neill

Hi, my name is Erin O'Neill. I am a part time urban homesteader and a full time homemaker and new mom. I enjoy canning my own food, crafting, raising chickens and working my bit of land. This blog is for anyone who wants to hear about the day to day struggles and successes of incorporating the old ways of life back into today's busy world.
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4 Responses to Nimbus is ill

  1. Tilly Frueh says:

    I have always thought that I would love to have some land and have the opportunity to have chickens and other farm animals, but after reading this post, I don’t know that I could do it. Tears are streaming down my face as I think about the heartache of losing your chicken. I realize that she is a farm animal, but as you said she is also a pet. My heart goes out to you and I think it is just wonderful all that you are doing to make her last days here as enjoyable as possible. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Erin O'Neill says:

      Thank you so much. Moments like this make me realize how I am totally not a farmer farmer. I am a cooking, sewing gardener with chickens.

      The good moments out way the bad though. Keep dreaming.

  2. Poor nimbus! I hope she doesn’t suffer unduly.

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