Miss Bunty Goodchicken
Miss Bunty Goodchicken, an ex-battery hen, arrived in our lives one February, just as the sun was starting to return to our little corner of Cornwall. Very apt for a hen who has indeed brought light into our lives every day since.
A special girl from the moment she was rescued from her cage, Bunty very quickly became Bunty Goodchicken. The Goodchicken name is the much-coveted title bestowed on only the most special of hens; whose gentle spirit and kind nature is a shining example to her sisters. Never throwing a peck in anger, Bunty Goodchicken is indeed a Good Chicken.
Her first year of free ranging saw her grow all her feathers back and settle into the sort of life every hen should enjoy; sunbathing, worm hunting, foraging, scratching, dustbathing and tucking up snugly with her sisters at night.
A particularly pretty hen, Bunty was also very photogenic. So much so that one of her best photos graced the cover of a national magazine promoting an article on rehoming ex-battery hens.
However, at the start of her second year as a free range girl, Bunty Goodchicken became ill. She had a prolapse and no amount of home remedies would help. So off to Uncle Jason the vet she went; the first of many visits and the start of her biggest battle.
Bunty had an operation putting in a purse-string suture to keep her prolapse in. She also had a suprelorin implant to stop her laying and thus stop the prolapse re-emerging. After three days of internal check-ups and monitoring, the suture was removed and after a further few days of anxious Prolapse Watch, she was deemed fit enough to return to the loving wings of her sisters.
During this time Bunty remained stoic and uncomplaining – a brave chicken as well as a good one. The vets therefore awarded her a Braveheart Award and the medal and certificate are now both very proudly displayed in the human’s coop.
However, the battle was not won. Bunty Goodchicken subsequently developed egg peritonitis – she was laying internally and the egg fluid building up – and has been on medication ever since. At first she happily took her pills, ground up on a delicious treat, but she has got wise and now it has to be syringed in along with a painkiller. She is still fighting hard and currently trialling a new heart pill to help relieve the pressure on her big, brave, beautiful heart. Uncle Jason will be writing a paper on her treatments and, due to his work with Bunty, has been able to successfully treat many more hens. So she is a medical pioneer as well.
Her illness is, heartbreakingly, a battle we cannot win. Any care we give her is now palliative. But we will keep fighting for her until she tells us it is time to go.
Miss Bunty Goodchicken: Covergirl, Braveheart Award Winner, Medical Pioneer, Good Chicken.
A big legacy for a little chicken.