My heart raced as I ran towards the kiddie pool. Taking a clue from my children’s guilty faces, I expected the worst.
“Where is she?!” I demanded.
“She’s just taking a nap after her swim.”
Lifting back the drenched towel cradled in my daughter’s arms, I gasped at what looked more like raw chicken breasts than an actual bird.
…and that was the day I learned how to do Chicken CPR.
My kids have grown up around chickens. My mother got her first two chicks when my sister and I were away at college, filling her metaphorical empty nest with actual birds. Since then her flock has multiplied, at one point containing over ten chickens.
When we bought our current house, one of the first decisions we made was where to put our own chicken coop. Spring came, and we picked out six, day-old chicks from Tractor Supply.
One warm day in May I set up the kiddie pool in the backyard. My then two year old and three year old have a habit of torturing cuddling our chickens, treating them more like stuffed animals than actual farm animals. They are no stranger to being reprimanded when it comes to their treatment of the girls. Just the day before they received a speech about the chickens and water.
So you can imagine my delight when I looked up from my post on the back porch and saw my toddlers playing nicely with one another. They were taking turns pushing a large Tupperware container, filled with a towel and water, down the slide and into the pool.
“It’s a boat Mama!” they called sweetly.
“Wow,” I thought. “Look at that creativity. They are so well behaved. So filled with love. How did I get so lucky?”
Who am I kidding. I was just glad to have a moment without them trying to strangle one another!
We come to the point in our story folks, where I snapped out of my idiotic and naïve bliss. Call it divine inspiration, Mother’s Intuition, or simply “Hey dummy, pay attention to your kids.”
Whatever the case, I was suddenly struck with the thought of, Huh. Why do they have a towel in a large Tupperware filled with water? And why are there only five chickens in the yard?
When I saw that poor lifeless bird’s head flopped to its side, mouth agape, tongue drooped, my eyes welled up with tears. Do I love these birds? Not really. They poop everywhere, and escape through the fence. Their food alone costs about 10 times more than a dozen eggs at the store. However, I was so overcome with the thought of this animal dying at the hands of my children (I mean have you seen Criminal Minds? This is how it always starts people!!!!) that I started crying and screaming:
“YOU BETTER START PRAYING THAT GOD HEALS THIS BIRD!”
Before you ask, yes. As soon as this blog takes off, I am writing a parenting book on how I am perfectly composed, including the tips I have for being the perfect parent, and raising perfect kids.
I whisked the chicken away in my arms, unsure of my next step. I had already aided and abetted in chicken drowning, used prayer as a threat and punishment, and made both of my children cry. I needed a win, and I needed it fast. I only had one place to turn.
Do yourself a favor. Enter the words Chicken CPR into the YouTube search bar. I have included the particular link I used for guidance here, but trust me. It’s a worth a peek. With the video to guide me, I began chest compressions on my chicken. Water sputtered from her tiny lungs, giving me the confidence to go on…I cupped my hand around her tiny beak and blew.
Her eyelids fluttered, and my heart soared.
They say that hearing your newborn baby cry for the first time is the most beautiful sound you ever hear. I would argue that it is rivaled by the sound of a chicken being raised from the dead. She raised her feathery ping pong ball of a head and looked around. Our eyes met and she paused for a moment, as if to say, “I see you. I respect you. And—“ Ok actually it was like everything else in motherhood. Another lifesaving task gone completely unappreciated.
As I returned her to her coop, I couldn’t help but chuckle. When I became a parent, I knew there were certain things for which I had to prepare. Chicken CPR was not one of those things. Yet here we were. And again, like everything else in motherhood, I made it through with patience, courage, and a whole lot of YouTube.