Ophelia comes out of surgery

June 21, 2008 | By | Comments (8)

by Elizabeth Jardina, Sunset researcher

Ophelia came out of surgery this afternoon. When I picked her up at Adobe Animal Hospital, she was a little groggy, but seemed okay.

The vet helpfully gave us the icky — whatever it was — that had been clogging her crop. In a plastic bag. Looked like straw, maybe. There was no way that any amount of chicken massage could have broken up that gross tangle.

You can’t even see her incision because it’s covered by feathers.

She’s not really supposed to eat or drink tonight, and I was worried about her being with the rest of the other chickens, so I closed her in the chicken house — she jumped up to the roost, presumably to sleep. The other chickens will have to stay in their (completely closed) yard tonight instead of their snug house. It will be confusing to them, but they’ll live.

I originally planned to put her in with Nugget, but Nugget immediately began pecking Ophelia when I tried it out, so I whisked her out.

I have a very bad feeling about Nugget. I’m afraid Nugget is a rooster.

What are the ethics of getting a “rescue” chicken and then eating it? Re-homing a rooster can be nearly impossible, and I’m not sure what we can do with him.

But first things first. This weekend’s task is helping Ophelia get better.


  1. Emma Murphy

    sorry I forgot to mention to add Nugget to the mix of chickens I would like to see in the Sunset magazine. Sorry. And thanks again!

    March 27, 2009 at 3:37 am
  2. Emma Murphy

    Dear Sunset,
    I am a twelve year old and the proud owner of 12 (going on 18) chickens. Their names are Billy, Cindy, Windy, Peeps, Triscut(we are suspecting a rooster), Hannah, Acorn, Brooke, Fluffy, Iqbal, Henny, and Clover. They are about six months old and have started producing eggs early as well. We have blue eggs, brown eggs, and recently one white egg (who my mom and I suspect came from Cindy a white leghorn). As I wrote above we think that Triscut is a rooster. We are praying though that we wont have to give him away though. We live pretty high up in the Saratoga hills in a blue house. Since our neighboors like the chickens we have nothing to worry about so far. Our neighboors are very trustworthy and nice. They take care of the chickens when we are out of town and love to play with them on spare time. Every morning my mom and I look forward to letting our chickens out in the morning before school or on the weekends. They love the fresh smell in the crisp morning air. I truely love my chickens. Please post more pictures and information about your chickens; Alana, Ophelia( Get well soon), Charlotte, Honey, Carmelita, and Ruby. Whenever my mom reads the Sunset magazine and sees anything that has to do with your chickens she calls me over and I come look at them with her. Thanks for making a great blog and I hope to be reading more about your magazine and chickens!

    March 27, 2009 at 3:30 am
  3. Candice

    so… what happened?
    i just read Team Chicken’s blog from start to finish and was left hanging… what happened to Ophelia?
    did the blog end cos your summer is almost up? did i miss something?
    REALLY enjoyed it. what an awesome blog. i reviewed it on my blog. thanks for the read, was great!

    August 24, 2008 at 7:52 pm
  4. KJ

    Oh and in regards to Jessica B’s post: While I agree with much of what you say, I disagree with your close-minded view and trying to push the people at Sunset to conform to it. Horses are pets here, yet they are widely eaten in other countries outside the US. So are cats, dogs, parrots, guinea pigs, monkeys, rabbits, etc. Should we not keep all of them as pets because there are people suffering in the world and they would eat them if they had them? Many cultures around the world do keep some breeds of chickens as pets, not just food, and trying to get a group of people who just wanted some eggs and to write an nice article about the process to kill their hens when they already stated that none of them could do it is wrong. Trust me that the taking of a life of something you raised from birth is very hard to do each time I dispatch a chicken or a goat.

    July 22, 2008 at 4:26 pm
  5. KJ

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! Dear Team Chicken if you don’t want to kill all of your chickens get the hay/straw out of the chicken area right now! You should never have put it in there, and I’m surprised that your Chicken Adviser never told you as much. If they have dirt outside in the run they will be happy to dig around in that; that’s the natural thing for them to do anyway. If you need something to cover the floor of the coop put down pine shavings like for a hamster cage because they don’t like eating it and even if they do they can grind and digest it much easier than straw.

    July 22, 2008 at 4:13 pm
  6. Jessica Blischke

    People might egg me but…

    I hate to make this comment, but for most of the worlds population a chicken is simply supper, egg producer and sustainer of life. It is tragic in this country that we eat over processed cage bound sick antibiotic pumped animals, but then keep them as back yard pets. There are only a few places on earth where we have the luxury to pay for surgury for a chicken. For many humans basic medicine is not available.

    Sigh… In a culture with logical and sustainable agriculture both Ophelia and Nugget would have been dinner. We would treat them humanly with respect, but understand their position on the totem of life.

    It would have been nice to see Sunset really get into the realities of farming and animal husbandry. I know of no producer that would have sent a chicken to the vet for surgury, they would have given her a good purpose in a pot and moved on to support another life cycle from chick to hen.

    Sadly, they are not pets and if you put them on your table you should not look at them that way.

    I challenge Sunset to actually take this animal husbandry serious and practice it in a realistic, sensible and practical way.

    The realities are hard to face and the choices are hard to make. It is so much easier to just buy frozen chicken breasts from the store then actually have to think about putting one of your sick laying hens down and start with a new chick, but it is the right thing to do. In my humble opinion.

    Kindest Regards.

    June 25, 2008 at 6:31 pm
  7. Jan

    Maybe send the rooster to Best Friends?

    June 25, 2008 at 11:14 am
  8. james bouziane

    Hi, we have chickens at home in Scotts Valley. We accidentally got a young rooster, and like your experience, he became the trouble maker. We successfully moved the rooster to a friend’s yard where he lived a good life. Your “rescue” should not be dinner! Chickens make really good yard pets once you get to know them (and they know you!) JB

    June 22, 2008 at 3:23 pm

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