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Injured chicken conquers all and finds a coop in a coupe

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This is about a chicken coup. There is also a coop in this story. There's even a coupe. But "coup" is the right word because this is a story of conquest.

It all began when I started on my daily walk past the strewn parts of the 1936 Ford coupe my husband was restoring. At the end of the driveway, in the ditch, lay the body of a chicken - a Rhode Island Red hen. I started to walk by on the other side, and then was hit hard by my conscience. So I went back.

A staring eye blinked at me! She was alive.

Now I was in a struggle with myself. I hadn't liked chickens since I was a child. It had been my duty to gather eggs from about 200 chickens daily, some of whom were very aggressive in refusing to give them up.

But any creature in distress deserved all the love she could get. So I gingerly gathered up her limp body and went back to the carport, installing her in a cardboard box full of hay for a nest - a sort of minicoop.

I had nothing that would seem to be chicken feed, except some dried soup mix containing barley. So I poured some of that in a container, took a glass of water, and went back outside. The chicken lay as I had left her.

Putting the soup mix by her head, I tried to encourage her to eat. She wasn't interested. Then I dripped a little water on her beak, and she opened it. So I let drop after drop fall into her mouth until she sighed and shut her eyes. I felt relieved that I had helped, even a bit.

The next few days she lay unmoving, interested only in water.

However, by the fourth or fifth day, she began to move about, and one day we found her outside her box. She was dragging a wing and a foot, but was bright-eyed and hunting for something to eat. She still wasn't interested in soup mix, however.

The chicken tried - without success - to reach a cobweb in a corner above her, so I took a stick and gathered the web with its dangling spider. She gobbled up that spider.

Recruited for KP duty, my three sons entered into this new game with delight, and the chicken, now dubbed Henrietta, was plied with an abundance of fat black spiders. Even my daughters got into the action, albeit preferring the longer handle of the broom for delivering the spider meals.

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