Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Drive-Through Autopsies for Chickens

The cosmos realigned today.  Remember from the Eagles post that I am a magnet for bizarre experiences?  The kids asked me if today was the weirdest.  For sure, it is in the running.

It's been a tough month for our pets, then this morning I found White Out the hen deceased inside the chicken door of the coop.

I waited hours before I told the kids.  They felt we needed an autopsy.  Although she may have died of trauma (remember the hawk from earlier in the week?) getting a certain diagnosis would be a relief.

Baby A (the older twin) found what we needed.  He chose the Backyard Chickens website because it sounded more personal.  A sweet glimpse into the arrangements he'll make for me one day.  As he followed the links to the Georgia Poultry Lab and discovered it wasn't far from us he added, "Oh good.  There is an address where you mail the chicken."  Hmm.  Maybe I'll make my own arrangements for the afterlife?

What are the odds the state poultry testing center would be 12 miles from my house?  The boys handed me a garbage bag, reminded me to wear gloves (twice) and...
sent me to the coop.

You may have guessed from the title what happened.  With the bagged chicken in my gloved hand, I rang the doorbell.  A nice young fellow explained there is a drive-through window around the side where I hand in my specimen and write down my contact information.  "Hop back in your car and drive around the corner of the building."

You have got to be kidding me.
No, I am not.

I'm a little ashamed to admit that I wouldn't put White Out in the passenger's seat.  Or even in the front of the car.  Obviously other people do, which makes me feels worse.  I walked her around the corner of the building and filled out the contact info while shivering without a coat.  I had taken off the coat before I headed to the coop.  Coats are hard to wash so I only had on warm ups.  (That's another tip for those of you idealizing the country life.)

The tests they run are extensive and without cost to the family of the dearly departed.  The kids were hoping to get back the remains, reassembled.  I did explain why sending dead chickens back wasn't hygienic.  They understood.

The nice lady at the drive-through window said to start checking my voice mail and email today for results and sure enough, before I finished writing this post, the preliminary results were in.  Wow.  That's a fast drive-through!

Barring some unexpected histology or tracheal swab results, something had a bite of chicken.

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