My Chicken Ate My Earring! August 16, 2017

Believe it or not, even chicken keepers like to glam it up every once in a while. For a gal like me, this includes a pair of diamond earrings that my husband gave me when we had our first child. But I had no idea that my chickens would like my earrings just as much as I did!

Big Mama, the Barred Plymouth Rock

One day I went out to sit with my flock. My favorite hen, Big Mama, flew into my lap and nestled down for a nap. (If you haven’t trained your chickens to be lap chickens, I highly encourage it!) I was busy looking around, doing a visual inspection of my flock when I felt a surprise tug at my ear.

Reaching up, I could feel that my earring was gone. When I looked down Big Mama was standing in my lap with my diamond stud clasped in her beak.

Oh, no!

Diamonds are a chick’s best friend

This next step is where I went wrong. I should have carefully lifted my bird and calmly retrieved the earring from her beak. What I did was scream like a mad woman and fling my arms into the air, causing my flock—and Big Mama—to fly away in terror.

Where was the earring?

In a panic, I looked around and even started crying, scaring my six-year-old into crying along with me. We both began sifting through piles of gravel and sand looking for my tiny stud. We must have been a sight! But in the end, we came up empty handed.

My chicken ate my earring

Clearly Big Mama the chicken ate my earring, right? That must be what happened. I wanted to catch it when it came out the other end, so I isolated her in my chicken infirmary, a modified dog crate.

But after a while, I began to worry that she would keep the earring in her digestive tract since chickens will normally consume rocks and grit to aid in digestion. Faced with this concern, I called our local vet (who happens to be my uncle) and persuaded him to let me bring my chicken in to be X-rayed. His practice doesn’t normally take chickens, but luckily, for me he made an exception.

Trip to the vet with my earring-eating chicken

With Big Mama loaded up in the car with us, we headed to town. I sat in tears in the waiting room while Big Mama was taken back. In a while, they brought her back to me along with the X-ray; no earring.

Say what?

My Uncle did say that she was the nicest chicken he had ever seen, but I wasn’t in the mood to accept a compliment on her behalf.

But if my chicken didn’t swallow the earring, then where did it go?

Buried Treasure

I didn’t want to give up on finding that earring, so I searched the internet and found a couple of local treasure-hunting enthusiasts (yes, you read that right) who would come out and help people look for lost jewelry. I messaged them, and within a day they were in my yard with more metal-detecting equipment than I knew existed.

They spent the better half of an afternoon searching my yard for the earring. They even scanned my flock! Holding a bird while someone ran a metal detector over their body must be one of the strangest things I’ve ever done.

Unfortunately, even the treasure hunters came back empty-handed.

It was not that my chicken ate my earring or even that she dropped it. Evidently she just made it disappear into thin air.

My chicken is a wizard.

I genuinely thanked them for coming out and treated them to cold Dr. Peppers.

Defeat

Defeated, I wrapped up my lonesome earring and stowed it away in my jewelry box. I had my husband lock up the chickens that night. I was too bitter to face Big Mama, and it took me a couple days to forgive her. But forgive her I did. It was my fault, after all, for wearing jewelry in the coop.

my chicken ate my earring--or not!

Guilty but forgiven

 

I wish I could tell you that I eventually found my earring, but that’s not the case.

I knew raising chickens was going to cost money, but I didn’t know it would be that expensive! So please, learn from my mistake and take off your jewelry before entering the coop.

And if all else fails, stay calm!

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