When we went to photograph and assess the hen, rooster and chick numbers at the home of a hoarder, we didn’t expect to leave with twelve severely debilitated and ill birds. Amongst the dead and dying was a thin little hen pitifully flapping around in circles in the dust. We named her Bumble.
A vet check revealed a very painful and long-neglected dislocation of her leg that could have been corrected with veterinary attention at the time of her injury. In addition, Bumble had a deformed wing, was egg-bound, had an impacted crop and suffered severe leg-mite, body lice and worm infestations.
To relieve her of her agony, one of our kind supporters sponsored Bumble’s immediate leg amputation – and weeks of rehabilitation followed. This stoic little girl made a full recovery and spent almost two years happily hopping around our shelter gardens and being spoiled by our volunteers.
When her remaining leg developed a horny growth that was growing back onto her leg, she underwent a second surgery to have it removed. Months later cancer at the growth site caused the leg to collapse and we had long discussions with her surgeon. Due to her otherwise vibrant good health and love of life, we made the decision to amputate her second leg rather than euthanize her.
That was four months ago and this happy little hen continues to thrive. Bumble is one of our most intensively cared for permanent residents and an absolute delight. She is fed and sleeps indoors, and spends her days using her strong wings to move about the garden digging her beak into the earth and keeping company with rabbits, pigeons and the shelter dog. Her favourite foods are fruit smoothies, blueberries, watermelon, tomatoes, bread crusts, daisies, Wandering Jew, oxalis and corn.
When we asked a few of our volunteers to describe Bumble, these are some of the words they used: “flappy, cute, fire-plumage, double amputee, lap-sitter, stubborn, happy, will get her own way, chatty, survivor, fearless, inquisitive, stroppy, sweet, Diva, floppy comb, spoiled, skilled wing balancing, almost human, affectionate, bossy, unique, one-off, extremely friendly, optimistic, loves being carried about, knows what she likes, unafraid, nosey, drama queen, cuddly, gentle, likes to look at her reflection, demanding and loved”.
The story of this adored and cheerful little hen had to be told.