MechelenCan’t your chicken walk anymore? Many owners would then put them in the pot, but not so at the Tanja Stoffels (45) home. She built a wheelchair for Witte, who now has to go through life on wheels. “I just need to teach her how to move with it.”
Witte is the chicken of a friend of Tanja, but the hen ended up with her after her head was plucked to the bone by a rooster. With two dogs, six cats, five rats and four chickens, her house is one big animal mess. You will therefore not easily find a larger animal lover. “Animals are my long life. I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.”
And so she committed herself to getting Witte back on top. “The vet didn’t give her a chance, but just then we go for it. And with success. She had been with me for about a month and her head was completely healed. You only saw it if you knew her history.”
The owner was allowed to pick up Witte again, but things went wrong earlier this week. Tanja kept the chicken in a bench, but she was also allowed to walk around the house regularly to stretch her legs. Tanja found the animal lying there.
“Did she twist a leg? I don’t know what exactly is wrong, I want to give it time to see if it heals. But of course I can’t leave her lying in her own excrement. Hence the idea of a wheelchair.”
She looked online for inspiration and then went to the DIY store and the Action for PVC pipes and wheels for an office chair. After a few hours the wheelchair was ready. “The hardest part was actually stretching the canvas so that she was comfortable.”
Witte clearly still has to get used to her wheels, because although they turn smoothly, moving around with the wheelchair is not possible for the time being. “She doesn’t quite realize that she can move around yet. I am now trying to teach that by luring her with mealworms.”
Tanja leaves the decision to go to the vet to the owner. Even if Witte never gets better, she can still stay. “As long as she’s happy. Her happiness is the most important thing.”
Can you tell if a chicken is happy? “Yes,” she assures. Witte still shows interest in everything and lays an egg every day. And yes, you also get friendship back from a chicken. I can cuddle her and when I stroke her feathers, she closes her eyes a bit. Very cute.”
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