Did you know that chickens make wonderful pets and are very hardy birds? We found this out with a case in early September involving Wendy, a Naked Neck chicken who lives in Haines, Alaska with her mom, Kelsey. Unfortunately, Wendy found a hole in her habitat and managed to get out. She was scooped up by a hungry hawk and her person, Kelsey, thought that Wendy had been killed. Later that same day, Wendy walked back into the yard, bloodied and badly injured, but very much alive and intent on getting home. We’ll spare you the “before” photos as they are pretty graphic.
Kelsey contacted her local veterinarian, Dr. Michelle Oakley, who many of you will recognize as Dr. Oakley: Yukon Vet, https://www.facebook.com/droakleyyukonvet/, from the National Geographic show of the same name. Dr. Oakley put Wendy, or Chicken Little as she calls her, on antibiotics and scheduled a wing amputation a few days later. According to Dr. Oakley, chickens are actually very hardy birds. Wendy is certainly testament to that! Kelsey, who works for the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, and her husband, who works seasonally, couldn’t afford the full cost of treatment and applied to HHF for help.
Now, this is not the first pet chicken case we’ve handled. A couple of years back we offered emergency foster care to a family with dogs, rabbits, a variety of small birds and a chicken. So, we knew from that case that humans do bond with these birds and vice versa. Given how hard Wendy worked to save herself and get back home, and the fact that most safety net agencies focus only on dogs or cats, we felt compelled to give this tough little chick a chance to survive.
Dr. Oakley amputated part of one of Wendy’s wings last Friday, but indicated that Wendy still had a great deal of infection and wasn’t entirely out of the woods. Kelsey, though, has been texting photos and updates and tells me that Wendy is doing great. She is pictured above with family member, Hunter, enjoying some TLC that is so critical to the healing process.
So, the lesson here is DO count your chickens before and after they’ve hatched to make sure they haven’t snuck out like Wendy did!