It was 10:00 at night, and Frankie had been peeping her head off for twenty minutes. Her mom was beside herself, but, being a chicken, she couldn’t think to do more than offer a beak full of chick starter or a sheltering wing.
That wasn’t what Frankie wanted.
Thinking she must be in pain or itching, I took her out and slathered more antibiotic ointment, even gave her a teensy bit of dexamethasone in sugar water. The arithmetic involved in figuring out a safe and effective chick dose darn near made my eyes cross. Permanently.Thankfully I’d already done it once before, a week ago, when she was first hurt and I needed to keep the swelling down.
It didn’t help.
She kept on peeping, standing in the center of the cage with her mouth wide open, shrieking her dissatisfaction, with chick food at her feet, her mom hovering and clucking, and a full dish of water three inches away. The volume got louder and louder, the pitch reminding me of fingers on chalkboards, knives on a ceramic plate, Fran Drescher…. Something was wrong. Very, very wrong.
I pawed through the refrigerator looking for something that might distract her. She ignored my offerings – a strawberry, a bit of sausage, chopped romaine – and she kept on screaming.
Then I spied the cheese – shredded Jack cheese – the stuff that looks like worms. The cheese she had for lunch.
I dropped some in the cage, and she immediately stuffed her little face. Then she dove under her mom’s wing and went to sleep.
Forget chick starter – she’s addicted to cheese. And she knows how to get it.