|The Mutant Flock|
While I was visiting my mother, a bobcat decided to visit our property and made off with two of our chickens. I was kind of sad because I'd grown attached to Mr. Waddles the rooster and our little hens, of which now I just had one left. My husband and I discussed getting new chickens, and I called the original breeder where I'd gotten the chickens from last September.
He said he didn't have any chickens, but he knew of someone who might be selling theirs. He had told me about this "someone" almost around the same time I originally got my chickens, but at that time I didn't want two roosters around. This time, though, we said "sure" to a small flock of 6 chickens. They were collected up and brought to our house about a week ago. We're not quite sure yet what to make of them.
I call them the "mutant" chickens. They belonged to an elderly gentleman who was no longer able to care for them, and they look like they haven't been taken care of for a while. Some are missing feathers, one is missing an eye, and the rooster sounds like he's got a bad case of emphysema. Our one sole bantam hen from the original group won't go near them. Five hens and they haven't laid one egg.
For some reason this got me to thinking about life and the different paths that we all follow. Both sets of chickens came from the same breeder. Our chickens got to come to our home, the Beverly Hills of chicken life; acreage, plenty of food, a large coop, etc. The other chickens went to, well, let's be honest, a trailer park. They had small living quarters, a small yard, and I am not sure how often they were given chicken feed since they don't seem to know what to do with it when we throw it to them here.
My own life could have gone in so many different directions. Any small change of circumstances and I would be in a completely different place than where I am now. I thought about that today when I had a patient come into the emergency department crying hysterically and hyperventilating. She's now homeless as a result of finally getting out of her abusive relationship. She was trying to make something of herself; getting a medical assistant's certification. She's had problems with alcohol abuse in the past, but kept herself clean enough to make it through her program.
Tonight she'd had enough of the emotional abuse from her significant other and had packed all her belongings and was trying to leave. A verbal then physical altercation led to her ending up in the E.D. She cried as she wondered where she was going to go next. No family, no money, seemingly without any support at all, and she's my age.
I tried to reassure her that things would get better. We called the sheriff who documented her wounds, took her statement, gave her information on local resources. We gave her a phone, she called her son, arranged for a ride, and we discharged her to home... well, to wherever she was going next. Hopefully not back to her significant other. Hopefully, her circumstances will change for the better, too.