The Chicken's Plague
The chickens were all dead, by the time of the two floods and the time I was born. There were still a few scattered hens, I guess, laying eggs under bushes, and still a few roosters scratching after worms. But the chicken farms were all gone. Gone out of business with the plague.
My dad said it was…I don't remember what he said was the technical name, but it was whatever they call the chicken version of elephantitis, the human disease named after elephants. Round worms cut off the lymphoid networks and catch up the fluids in the tissues, causing swelling, causing swollen grotesqueries. I don't know how the chickens got it, but there must have been a first chicken. The first chicken swelled up and died, died and lay bloated in death in the scratched-over wood shavings, and the other chickens looked surprised.
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