Guinevere’s Story

guinWe have been so grateful for the support  shown to us and our little hen, Guinevere, though we are realizing that many of you do not know exactly what is going on, and you may be interested.

This is her story so far:

Guinevere was happily eating, walking around, and cuddling on Sunday, September 21st.  The plan was that she would soon leave quarantine to become a companion for Nutmeg at the Triangle Chance for All microsanctuary.  Her caregivers, Linda and Alan, left the house to go shopping, planning to pick up raspberries for Guin, since they are her favorite treat in all the world.

When they returned, Guinevere’s right leg was four times the size of her left.  She was still acting well, but this felt like an emergency.  Of course, this happened on a Sunday, so the long wait for the vet’s office to open began.

Justin and Linda took Guinevere in on Monday afternoon, and Dr. Burkett diagnosed Guin as having an abscess due to what he believed to be a snake bite that probably occurred several weeks prior. Guin stayed at the vet’s overnight, with the plan that her leg would be opened and the abscess drained on Tuesday.  Dr. B also planned to clean a buildup of fecal material from her vent while she was sedated.

On Tuesday, we waited to hear from the vet. He called with news very close to closing time. Again, Justin and Linda headed for the vet’s, where Dr. B told them that he had found no abscess, but instead, a great deal of inflammation. He had sent some tissue to the lab to perform a culture and find out more.

He was equally concerned about her vent.  He had anticipated an easy removal of built-up fecal material, but the more he worked, the more appeared.  Bits of tissue began to peel off with the fecal material, so he stopped working. He believes Guin has a neurological deficit in the area, most likely caused by the same snake bite that caused so much inflammation in her leg. This means she will likely have issues with incontinence for the rest of her life.

Dr. Burkett sent Guin home with a bandaged leg and instruction on her care, after Linda received a crash course in chicken medicating.  This proved very easy, despite Guinevere’s loss of appetite and energy.

On Friday, we were instructed to remove Guin’s bandage. If her leg was blacker than before (which would mean there was more necrotic tissue), we were told bring her back in. It was, so Justin and Linda headed back to the office on Friday evening.

They were told that her leg will get worse before it gets better.  At some point, the necrotic tissue will slough off, and it will take months for her to recover. They were shown how to bandage her leg and what to look for.  Her weight loss was a concern, so Dr. Burkett and vet tech Rebecca demonstrated tube feeding.  Guinevere came back home with bags full of medications and materials for her care.

A change in medication proved very helpful, and Guin is eating quite robustly though there are still periods of concern about her appetite. Linda and Rosemary managed their first tube feeding, which went well. Linda and Alan changed Guinevere’s bandage for the first time yesterday, and were pleasantly surprised by how well Guin took it.

All of us at Triangle Chance for All are committed to Guinny’s recovery process for the long haul.  She will remain with Linda and Alan, as she knows them best, and we are doing all we can to reduce her stress.

We know this is a lot to take in, but we want all of our supporters to know that we will care for Guinevere the way we would take care of any loved one, making her quality of life our absolute top priority. She will get the best care we can possibly provide until she is healed and healthy again.

We know you will keep her and us in your thoughts, and that means so much to all of us.

If you would like to help us in caring for Guinevere during her recovery, you can contribute, or you can donate some of her medical supplies through Guinevere’s Amazon wish list.


Guinevere: Ups and Downs…and Ups

I woke at 4am feeling both dread and determination at the possibility that I’d need to gently guide a feeding tube down Guinevere’s throat to provide her with the nourishment she needs to heal.

A trip to the vet’s last night (Dr. Burkett, Rebecca, the vet tech, and Michael at the front desk all stayed long beyond closing time to help Guin and to advise us on her care; such caring people!) revealed that our little hen had lost an alarming amount of weight very quickly, so tube feeding seemed imperative.

Guinny had other ideas, and she ate! We’re hoping the universe is kind to us and this very sweet and fragile girl for the rest of the day.

She is resting now. Sleep deep and long, and get well, Guinevere. Know that you’re loved.

– Linda Nelson

Update on Guinevere

We at Triangle Chance for All want to extend our thanks to everyone who kept our beloved Guinevere in their thoughts today during her medical procedure. She is back home with our board members Linda Rapp Nelson and Alan Nelson, where she is being cared for with the most attentive love possible.

Unfortunately, Guinevere’s issues were more dire than we anticipated. Her leg swelling was due to severe inflammation. Dr. Burkett’s best guess is that it is from a snakebite she received prior to arriving at Triangle Chance for All. Along with that wound, however, was a severe impaction in her vent, likely due to neurological damage possibly sustained with the same injury to the leg. Dr. Burkett did his best to clean out the area, but the impaction was so extensive that only part of the material could be removed. And the neurological damage means that she will have trouble with incontinence long-term.

Added to that, although she has not laid an egg up to this point, if she were to start to lay now it would be life threatening. We are starting her on a supplement that will prevent egg production, as well as providing other care, such as anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and pain medications, that will give her the best chance at a good quality of life.

At Triangle Chance for All, we are committed to providing the highest quality of care to our residents, no matter what that entails. We rely on your support to make this happen. If you would like to contribute to Guinevere’s ongoing care, you can do so at

Thank you from all of us.

Love for Guinevere

I just finished my yoga practice. I dedicated it to our sweet, sweet Guinevere who is away at the vet’s tonight so as to be ready for a surgical procedure tomorrow. I found it impossible not to cry on my mat.

Alan and I went shopping yesterday. I had spent plenty of time with Guinevere in the morning, and I was eager to get some tempting foods for our very picky chicken at the store. We were gone for no longer than an hour and a half, but when I walked into Guinevere’s room, my heart dropped.

As usual, she ran towards me in her friendly, eager way, but I immediately saw that her leg was swollen, and red, and angry, and I felt so scared. I immediately called my much more knowledgable friend, Rosemary, to tell her what I was seeing. We both went to work trying to figure out what was wrong.

Guinevere was walking on her leg, eating robustly, and being her usual adorable and affectionate self though I could see that her leg was bothering her.

We set her up in a dog crate for the night with pillows, soft towels, food, and water after Rosemary had given her an oral anti-inflammatory, and I had held lovely Guin while Alan gently rubbed her leg with a topical pain reliever. I slept fitfully, waking often to worry about this precious, little hen. Why do they always get sick or hurt on the weekend or a holiday? Anyone who has ever had a sick loved one knows what it is to wait for Monday or morning, when the vet or the doctor can be called.

Justin and I took Guinevere into the vet’s for an afternoon appointment. Dr. Burkett diagnosed Guin with an abscess. He found a puncture wound and looked for another. He is assuming this was an injury from before Guinevere’s arrival at Triangle Chance for All. Apparently, abscesses can occur quite a bit after the initial trauma.

The doctor will sedate our girl, open her leg, drain and flush the infection out before suturing it and starting her on a course of antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory medication. He will send the drained material to the lab to figure out what one of so many different types of bacteria is causing her pain. It struck me as so sad that the antibiotics used to make chickens lay and chickens grow for greedy humans are just what makes it tricky to know just how to treat Guinevere.

Coming home from the vets without her was so hard. I wasn’t home for long before I thought I’d go up to Guinevere’s room to give her a snuggle. This is something I’ve been doing at least a dozen times a day for the last month. It is a lovely and comforting routine for both of us. And then I remembered that she isn’t here and sought comfort in my yoga practice.

Guinevere is such an important part of our Triangle Chance for All family, and we so hate that this gentle little chicken has had to go through so much in her short life. We just want her well. It isn’t lost on us that so many would say, “She is just a chicken,” but she is not “just” anything but pure love to us.

-Linda Nelson