Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. #EIN# 82-2236486

All images

©Katherine Dunn.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Opie's blind chicken-the pig names her Henneth but Opie calls her Pickles

Our latest Apiferian is a one eyed blind chicken. Opie immediately seemed to understand the chicken was unique. When she first arrived, I kept her in a bunny hutch on the floor of the barn where Opie, and his other pet chicken, and some Buffs, could get to know said blind chicken. Now Opie is feeling pretty full of himself these days, with Spring air, and the fact that he now seems to have not one, but two pet chickens. He made it clear in this video not to bother his new blind chicken!

He had not even named the first pet chicken, one of the four Buff Orpingtons who I took out of the flock to be away from Father, the Barred Rock rooster who is very rough on the girls. The Buffs don't tolerate him, but this poor hen would cower for hours in a corner, so I took her out. Then the other Buffs began separating out from the Barred Rock girls. The Buffs were here first and were grown when the Barred rock hens arrived as chicks. So be it, the Buffs now live with Opie, Sir Tripod and Else in the front barn, and the Barred Rocks live with Father in the other side of the barn. You gotta go with the flow.

So when my friend asked if I might be able to take her one eyed blind chicken, how could I say 'no'. Blind, one eyed? It's right up the Apifera alley. I had met the chicken formally at my friends home, where she was working hard to get the chicken back in good enough health to return to the flock. We don't know what happened, but she thinks a predator, perhaps a hawk, freaked out the flock and this hen damaged her eye. Whatever happened, she was in my friend's care in her studio for weeks, so she was really personable and used to being handled since her eye was being cleaned daily. But her land is different than ours, and she feared the hen was a sitting...er, duck...to prey, and I suspect she was right.

When I first took her out of the crate on arrival, I thought,

This chicken is not long for this world.

But as you know well, I am often wrong.

I knew she had been in a cage for many weeks, so it was clear she was a bit wobbly. Her beak was long, as were her toes. But she just seemed off. She would lay down and tuck her head down. I know that could have been a defense too, but she was thin and you know once a chicken, in my experience, and I am not a chicken guru, but once a chicken gets really sick it seems to take a lot of them. Her 'good' eye was also goopy, and her wounded eye was like a Marty Feldman eye and really weird looking. After about for days of cleaning it, I noticed a piece of straw stuck there in the ooze, pulled it out, and magic, the eye just exploded with liquid. Sorry for the graphics, but not only did the chicken seemed relieved, so was I. Now that eye is sort of there, but dark. She is definitely blind, as she runs into any objects that are new. but she knows her area now.

In fact she was laying an egg every now and then-a beautiful brown one. I put her in her bunny hut at night but each morning she comes out and free ranges. She knows my voice and comes to me, and I still hold her and clean her eyes. I love that I can do this. I have missed personable chickens, which I had many of out West. For some reasons, my hens here have been less personable. But the Buffs, free from Father, are warming up.

Well, it was time to name that chicken.

"Pickles," said Opie.

"One Blind Mouse," yelled out Wilbur the Acrobatic Goat.

"I've been called her Henneth," said Earnest the pig, as he napped.

Well, the pig is often right, so her name is Henneth. But Opie still calls her Pickles. It is after all, his chicken.

Opie and Henneth, er, Pickles

On arrival, I put a harness on her, thinking the hens might peck her eye
Old else, with Henneth
Her right eye now deflated