World's most expensive drumstick: Chicken owner shells out
2,000-pounds to remove pet's injured leg
23rd August 2007

The veterinary bills were never going to be paltry.

But when Lily the chicken needed urgent medical assistance, her owners did not hesitate.

Seven operations and an amputated leg later, Vicky Mills and her husband Sam have shelled out almost 2,000-pounds on their beloved bird they took out a bank loan and have lived frugally for an entire year to pay for the treatment, which included Lily being diagnosed with depression.

Going out on a limb: Lily the one-legged chicken
 with her devoted owners Sam and Vicky Mills

But 24-year-old Mrs Mills says it was worth it to see the smile back on her beak.

The charity worker was horrified when her pet Rhode Island Red got her left leg trapped in a barbed wire fence.

A vet warned her the costs involved in trying to save the damaged drumstick would amount to significantly more than chicken feed, but he was instructed to do everything he could.

Lilly's owners spent almost 2,000-pounds on her injured leg before vets were forced to amputate it

When the treatment failed and the experts said Lily's leg would have to be amputated in order to save her life, Mrs Mills and her husband dug deep again to meet the costs.

Even then her medical bills were not over, as Lily was diagnosed with depression.

Being alone in the house was getting her down, so now the couple leave the television on whenever they leave their home in Cwmbran, South Wales.

And apart from the occasional fall, and having to take extra care when she wants to cross a road, she is back to her chirpy self.

Yesterday Mrs Mills said of her expensive pet: "She's worth every penny. I've not had a holiday this year because of the vet's bills.

"But I love her to bits and it would break my heart if anything happened to her."

Her husband, a 23-year-old engineer, added: "We were devastated when Lily's leg got snagged in the barbed wire.

"Our vet said he could try to save her leg and we gave the go-ahead whatever the cost.

"My wife loves that chicken so much that she could not bear to have her put down.

"It sounds daft when the vet told us that she was suffering from depression after the operations.

"But now she is a happy hen again and laying eggs regularly for us.

"She is quite happy to hop around on one leg.

"But sometime she tries to scratch herself with her missing leg and falls over."

Three-year-old Lily sleeps on a cushion in the kitchen of their two bedroom terraced house and has a free run of the back garden.

Lilly with her owners Vicky and Sam Mills

She turns her beak up at ordinary chicken feed - preferring to eat whatever is cooking in the kitchen - especially spaghetti bolognaise.

And Lily returns the favour by laying up to half a dozen eggs a week for the couple.

Chickens sold at a very young age are usually worth around 2-pounds, but Lily - who has a life expectancy of around six years - is emotionally priceless to Mrs Mills.

She added: "I've had Lily since she was a two-day-old chick.

"I was given her by a friend who reared chickens.

"She's much more fun than a cat or a dog.

"She struts about as if she rules the roost - she really thinks she's top of the pecking order in our household."

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