My hands shook a bit as I took the syringe and jabbed it into the breast of the chicken. I tried to depress the plunger, but couldn't get it to budge.
"Mom, I don't think you even got it through the skin," Lauren observed. Sure enough, it was just through the feathers and pushing on the skin. Chicken skin is tough.
I pinched the chest skin and carefully inserted the needle. The syringe held enough of a drug to sedate a 1200 pound horse, left from Bay's fatal colic. I never got to use it on him. Surely, if it would sedate a horse, it would euthanize a chicken. I needed to dispose of the drug safely, and I needed to put this chicken out of her misery. Using the drug, I could kill two birds with one stone. (Sorry, it was an unavoidable pun.)
I was, in fact, a little nervous using it, having heard about a man who almost lost a finger after accidentally injecting himself. But still, the syringe would not work. I pulled it out. Dang. The needle was bent. Plan B. Remove the needle and push the liquid down her throat.
Removing the needle, I pried open her beak, and the liquid leaked out (I never could get the plunger to move). I'm not sure how much the chicken got, but a couple of cc's went on my hand. As I washed my hand, I looked over at the chicken. Absolutely no effect. I decided to go down to the house to wash up better. While walking, I began to wonder to myself if I could in fact absorb some of the sedative myself through skin. And I began to panic.
At the house, I began to feel a bit weird, like one does shortly before passing out. What had I done? My hands tingled. We should go to the emergency room, I decided, just in case. My mouth was dry, my throat felt tight. My heart pounded. As we drove, I finally had the foresight to call the equine vet. He laughed. Laughed! He'd had this stuff on him many times, and as long as I had promptly washed it, I would be fine.
I told dh to pull over to the Stuff Mart and get me a bottle of water. While he went in, I practiced my old scuba diving techniques of calming myself and controlling my heart and breathing. I had just freaked myself out. I drank the water, and after taking two years off dh's life, I was okay. We turned around and went home.
Lauren and dh later reminded me that I had two Excedrin in my system to fight a terrible sinus headache, and I'd already told both it had made me a bit dizzy and shaky. My slight cold had made my throat sore all week. It wasn't the horse drug. Still, it was a stupid thing to do. Headlines: Woman dies trying to kill a chicken.
In case you are wondering about the poor chicken in my account of "poor me", she had septic peritonitis, I think. She hadn't layed in years, and wasn't egg bound. She smelled like death. By yesterday, her eyes were closed, and she was not eating, hardly moving, but surprisingly her head was alert. Hard to euthanize something that still seems aware. But I think she was in pain.
So, today, at the advice of my cousin-in-law, I bought a can of starter fluid (after showing my ID - cough). It's made of ether. I sprayed the whole can in a plastic container with a lid and put in my sad chicken. Internet sources said she'd be asleep three minutes later, dead in thirty. FIFTEEN minutes later, the chicken sat looking around when I peeked. Will nothing kill the chicken??? I carried the container down to the house to shorten my distance to checking on her, perhaps stirring up the ether, which tends to sink and perhaps wasn't reaching her beak. She started dozing. And now, she is at the big coop in the sky. May she rest in peace.
Cauna lived at least six, maybe seven years and delighted us with double yolked eggs now and again that were the biggest eggs I've ever seen in my life from a chicken, and I thank her for that.
My studies on how to humanely kill a chicken also revealed that I was indeed responsible for a chickie death. The chickie had lopped off its toe somehow, and thinking to clean it, I sprayed first aid spray on it which contains benzocaine, lethal to chickens. I didn't know. Well, that also might be a way to dispatch a chicken.
It is Super Bowl Sunday. I am going to play Scrabble with the girls and if you want to know my favorite team, you'll first have to tell me who is playing.
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