Lady Beats is one of our white birds, which the meat industry calls “broilers” and we refuse to. Unlike some of the white birds who are raised to develop huge breasts and have leg issues because their bodies can’t sustain their weight, Lady Beats is fairly small. She’s been at the farm for quite a while and she’s had vent gleet for most of that time.
Vent gleet is like a yeast infection for a chicken. The staff has been treating her for a long time with a special ointment, but it didn’t really help that much. Then a few months ago, they started giving her a special mash with garlic in it. Every day, a staff person now picks up Lady Beats, brings her into the med center and gives her the mash. It’s been really helping with the vent gleet and Lady Beats knows the routine. As soon as she’s set down on the floor, she starts her happy dance. It’s kind of a happy dance hop as she has a bit of a limp. She does the dance until the mash is put in front of her and then it’s all about the business of eating.
Some days, Lady Beats gets her mash as Boone the turkey is eating his. He was born with his tongue in his throat, not his beak, so he gets special mashes because he eats slow. And he eats messy, biting at the air after he gets some food in his beak so he can swallow. Mash ends up on his head, on his back and in a circle around him on the floor.
When she’s done with her mash, Lady Beats starts cleaning up around Boone, avoiding his big turkey feet—Boone can’t see very well, but Lady Beats manages not to get stepped on. He also chirps the whole time he eats, so it’s a chirping, hopping dance in celebration of mash by our friends, Boone and Lady Beats.
In June of 2010 Lady Beats took ill very quickly. She seemed to be having problems breathing so was not her perky self. We took her to the vet but she had developed an infection and had fluid on her lungs which was difficult to treat especially for a white bird of her age. She was only a few weeks off her 5th birthday, not bad for a bird destined to be slaughtered after 6 weeks.
She is sadly missed but we feel blessed to have met her. Keep on dancing.