*Sigh* Another day, another chicken causing me trouble. You see, I'm a chicken farmer and as a chicken farmer I tend to my flock, care for them when they're sick, and generally oversee their lives and behavior.
It's a profitable business in these parts, chicken farming is. Mostly because I'm the only person who does it within 100 square miles. It's dangerous because I'm dealing with eggs, and eggs are potentially the most deadly substance on the planet.
They're edible, of course, and they're highly prized as decorations and in games around Easter time, but they also have the potential to contain a living chicken and we all know how horrid that could be. I've been farming poultry since I was five years old and, up to this point, have had a flawless record of delivering safe, edible, non-contaminated eggs to every one of my customers (except for that man who actually asked me for contaminated eggs, but that's a whole other story and one that I couldn't possibly get into now).
But today's fiasco doesn't have anything to do with my egg delivery record or my, also flawless, meat delivery record, today's fiasco has to do with Gilda, the old hen who has recently come close to the end of her egg laying years. Gilda decided that she would eat a contaminated egg this afternoon while I was away at lunch.
Not only is egg eating a horrible habit for any chicken, eating a contaminated egg can lead to all sorts of nasty problems, but that's only what I was told by my father, who was told by his father and so on. I've never had anything of this sort happen before, and I'm not sure if anything of this sort has ever happened before.
I'm coming up on the coop where Gilda is now, Marita, my ten year old, was the first to discover this mess and has been here, keeping Gilda away from the other chickens because we're not sure what will happen to her or if it will be contagious.
Embracing me and weeping she cries out “oh Daddy! Is Gilda going to DIE?” Marita is distraught, but I'm not sure why, I haven't yet seen what's happening in the coop so I pat her hair and tell her “It's going to be ok, Munchkin, you'll see. Nothing is bad forever.”
Finally, I've coaxed and comforted Marita enough for her to lead me to where Gilda is.
“Oh my...!” I'm not a swearing man, but, seeing what has happened to my hen, it's hard to hold my tongue.
The bird is swollen to twice her size, her feathers are all sticking out like she's a porcupine, and her face is all puffed up like a chubby baby.
She's looking up at me with innocent, uncomprehending eyes. I look down at her, with probably the same incomprehension on my face. What do you do with a chicken in that state?
Feathers float down as I cover Marita's eyes and try to avoid falling chicken particles. That's the end of Gilda, and that's what happens when a chicken eats a contaminated egg. I suppose this is why chicken farming is one of the most dangerous careers on the planet.