Dear Diary (January 2003),       "Once upon a time there was a tiny chicken named Tina..."


Maybe... just maybe... I will make my millions writing a children's story about our real-life, special needs chicken, Tina Rowena Poopalot. Tina and her 8 siblings hatched out November 8th in the midst of the first bad storm of the season. One of the babies (Tina?) couldn't get under mama and was found—weak, wet, cold, near death. Tina (we'll say it was her) spent her first night in the house, partly in a cardboard box under a light, partly curled up inside my hand. Yep, you guessed it... in our bed. In the morning the family was dryed out, reunited, and sheltered. All was well till Tina started limping and on Christmas Eve she became a house chicken. Tina got sicker and sicker until she couldn't walk at all. Her legs stretched useless out in front and her feet were limp and curled. She ate and drank as long as we put food and water right in front of her so, for weeks, that's what we did. Gradually she grew strong and perky. Using her wings to balance and her feet like hands she could maneuver around her cage to eat and drink. But her useless legs were stuck, pointing forward instead of down, and her feet didn't work. I took on the challenge of rehabilitating her. An effort to build her a sling... sort of a johnny-jump-up for chickens... proved unsuccessful. But after three days of leg stretches and knee bends, Tina could walk! At first she looked drunk. And only went backwards. But with practice, she was cruising. One month after moving inside, Tina moved back outside with her family. Papa Streak took her under his wing (literally). Happy New Year! Life is good. last • next

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