It's true, I haven't mentioned the chickens in a really long time. It is not, however, because I finally realized that no one wants to hear about chickens. It's because I was sure they were dead chickens walking.
In case you missed the first forty or so posts in which I detailed how I don't know the first thing about raising chickens, I don't know the first thing about raising chickens. So when I noticed that two of them suddenly had no feathers on their bottoms, I was pretty sure it was leprosy.
And because I don't know the first thing about chickens (or leprosy, apparently), I didn't know what to do. I considered the emergency room, but I couldn't figure out how to get them there. I could see getting one into the waiting room safely. Two, no way. Have you seen how they flap and scurry? What a scene.
And the vet is right straight out. I spend my days trying to keep dogs AWAY from the girls - you think I'm going to walk into a vet's office with two nice plump chickens under my arms?
I thought about asking my friend who does know a thing or two about chickens, but the last time I asked her a question like this her answer involved a hatchet, a rake and a stump.
So I kept an eye on them. They seemed cheerful and, well, chicken-like. They did not seem at all bothered. There were no signs of plague, parasites or paranormalities. But then a third chicken lost all the feathers on her bottom and I figured something needed to be done.
So I asked who I always ask when I want the answer I want. I asked Google. I typed in a question involving naked chicken bums, being careful to phrase it in such a way as to avoid pages of porn.
Et voila, they are molting. Just as I was thinking I'd set them loose in the cranberry bog and wish them luck, it turns out they are living normal, healthy chicken lives. Actually, they are not living normal chicken lives. They are living how-did-we-ever-deserve-this chicken lives. I mean that in a good way.
Today, for the first time in weeks, there are signs of feathers on their bums. They are little tufts, like the tip of the flower coming out of the magic wand. I wonder if they one day simply bloom. Featherless one minute, fluffy the next. Featherless - fluffy - featherless - fluffy. Like that Velvet doll with retractable hair.
So if you're sitting there thinking this is way more information than I ever wanted, believe me, I feel your pain. This time last year I was a normal person, buying eggs in nice plastic boxes. This year, I am a crazed agrarian checking the surface of a chicken's bum and then posting my findings. What has become of me.