One of the best parts of being in veterinary school is that we get to bring what we learn back home. Be that our physical home where we grew up or our homes here at school, the fun seems to never stop. Luckily, I get to bring what I have learned this year home to 17 feathered pets that supply me and my neighbors with eggs — chickens!
What is the heart rate and respiratory rate of a chicken? We have 3 types of chickens, but what breeds are they? I had never heard of a Wyandotte before, or an Australorp for that matter. Luckily, I had heard of a Barred Rock!
Where are the lungs? Ya, we weren’t really taught that either. Luckily, we were taught how to solve problems and find the veterinary information we are looking for, no matter what the species. As it turns out, you listen to the lungs of a chicken on their backs and you listen to the heart in the center of their chest, near the keel. Cool, huh?
I even got to apply a little of my nutrition knowledge to the chicken coop. Some human foods, such as kale or basil, can change the flavor of the eggs and make them sweeter. While I’m a little apprehensive about whether I would like sweeter eggs or not, it is worth a shot. It also makes it especially nice to know that the chickens enjoy our efforts. They respond almost automatically to anything new in their midst, whether it is new bedding, a clean nest box, or a new food treat.
Spending time with our feathered family members is an excellent way to start and end the day. And, of course, a vegetable omelet tastes better when it came from your backyard!