Going back some decades ago at Easter time, it wasn’t uncommon for parents to surprise the family with some fluffy, yellow baby chicks. The Easter I remember most vividly was when I was 12, our dad brought home a dozen baby chicks. We oohed & aahed and played with them. Our baby chicks survived the fondling and squeezing that younger kids excel in doing and they more than doubled in size quickly. Dad had to erect a chicken coop in our yard to hold 12 mature roosters. They had ivory bodies and bright red combs. We had a large wooded lot in the back and if anyone in our suburban development minded the cock-a-doodle doos early in the morning, no one complained. At least, not to us.
I was given the task of making sure the coop was locked every night against predators such as weasels and/or foxes. Although I was conscientious about this, one night, my younger neighbor next door asked if he could play with them and he would lock the coop for me. I said OK, but unfortunately, the young 9 year old forgot to do so. At dawn, the next morning, we found most of the chickens did not survive the night invasion, except for one lying motionless in the driveway and the smallest one of the group who had run away, but came back that next morning.
I was devastated and guilt-ridden. My mother, who grew up with chickens herself, said the most humane thing was to ‘pull’ the injured chicken’s neck and put him out of his misery. I begged and pleaded as only a 12-year can do, and my mom, God bless her, said I could stay home from school and see what I could do for the fallen rooster.
The poor thing kinda flopped where he lay and had very little life in him. He could not stand, and couldn’t or wouldn’t open his eyes. Food was not even an option; he could not have eaten or even put his head up and try. I made a little bed with rags for him – and wrapped them around him as he could not be lifted; I was afraid he would die from the move. Since he couldn’t eat, I tried to find some bugs and other things like corn or bread that he liked, but he had no interest at all.
The only thing I could think of was oranges. We always had lots of oranges, and I squeezed some in a bowl. To ‘feed’ the rooster, I had to nudge his head up and put his beak into the orange juice. He had two choices: he could pick up his beak and gurgle it or he could drown in it. He gurgled. For the next few days, he was given orange juice in this manner. Again, my mom, let me stay home another day, but said I had to go back to school on Monday – that gave me 4 days in total to juice the rooster.
Mornings I would get up before school, juice the rooster, dash home and juice again and then at night. Eventually, the rooster got stronger and was standing – although wobbly – which was cause for a family celebration. When he finally walked, he was given his regular food in addition to the orange juice – and even though he walked somewhat lopsided like a crab, he could walk. He never ran as fast as his brother, but he wobbled along nicely beside him. Always – on a slant, but almost catching up. Eventually, the two brother roosters were able to inhabit the coop again and I never forgot to lock the coop again.
The greatest moment for me was one early weekday morning. As usual, the healthy brother rooster would wake us up for school about 6:30 am with his perky doddle doo. A few minutes later, there was this very throaty, uneven, bizarre cock-a-doodle-doo which could not be made by any other animal except a once-wounded rooster. In true Walton Family Style, you could hear everyone laughing from their bedrooms and clapping and shouting that I, did indeed, fix the rooster.
My mother never had to remind us to drink our orange juice after this; we learned first-hand the benefits of Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is required for life. The nature of our modern diets leads to a serious lack of this essential nutrient. This situation may be a leading contributor to much of the sickness and chronic disease that the population of the earth suffers.
A study in the Journal of Epidemiology was reported to show that people who have high blood levels of vitamin C live 6 years longer than those who have lower blood levels. Ref: http://www.cforyourself.com/
I learned at age 12 just how potent Vitamin C is. It is life sustaining and a most necessary nutrient. An animal was nurtured back from imminent death, sustained until strength returned and made an almost full recovery.
© Marie Coppola Revised March 2018