I am a Blogger for Backyard Poultry Magazine and this is an article I wrote for them that was published on January 22, 2014
A few years back, we rescued some young silkies. A friend called and told us that the breeder was going to dispose of them because of their birth defects. He didn’t have the resources to take on special needs birds, but he just couldn’t stand to see them thrown away. We agreed to take them.
The one that grew up to be a Roo we named Montego BonBon, although I have no recollection why. He had no visible birth defects, but as is often the case with inbred birds from unscrupulous breeders, his genetics were weak and he had ongoing health problems. He was only a little over a year old when his walnut comb swelled up so much that you couldn’t see any of the ridges that are characteristic of that type of comb.
Our vet was a 45 minute ride away and Monty was not accustomed to the car, so I asked my mother to drive and I held him on my lap. At first he was very tentative, but soon relaxed and started watching the scenery go by outside the window. On the trip home, armed with some powerful antibiotics, we made a quick stop at a fast food restaurant. I don’t usually eat fast food, but it was the only place to stop on our route and I needed to eat something. I got a burger and small fries. As I took one of the fries out of the bag, Monty grabbed it from me. I couldn’t help but laugh at the oddity of watching him fling it around before he gobbled it down. He had been so well behaved for the Vet that I figured he deserved a treat, so I let him have a few.
It was less than a week before we returned to the Vet. Again on the way home, we stopped for a snack. He eagerly ate his share of the fries. This continued with the next several trips, but now we stopped only for fries. Soon Monty’s health began failing noticeably. The next trip we made, he slept most of the ride. The Vet feared the worst and performed a biopsy. I returned to the car with my rooster in my arms, holding back the tears. My affection for this little guy was undeniable now. I watched him sleep in my lap as we drove. As we neared the fast food restaurant, he stirred. He sat up in my lap and looked out the window. I realized that we had made the trip so many times that without seeing it, he knew when we neared the place with his reward. Of course we stopped and he ate what his strength allowed.
Two days later the news came. It was cancer. I will save you all of the agonizing details of discussing the pros and cons. We opted for the surgery, a combectomy they called it. The morning of his surgery my husband took him in on his way to work. Waiting for the call to come pick him up was nerve racking, it was one of the longest days of my life. When I picked him up, he was still partially sedated. He lay barely conscious on the passenger seat as I drove home. When we neared the restaurant, he let out a low growl, without even opening his eyes. So I pulled into the drive-thru and ordered a small fries. The crinkling of the paper bag as I took it from the attendant didn’t even cause him to stir, so I just continued the drive. At home I set him up in his little recovery bed and tore the fries up into small pieces and placed them in a dish by his bed. When he awoke, he made a few little grateful chirping noises and hungrily gobbled down his special treat. To this day I can’t eat fast food fries without thinking of my little Montego BonBon.