It was a normal day in the office until veterinarian Dr Hein Stoop received a phone call from Destiny Singer who said something was wrong with her chicken, Lily.
Lily had not eaten for three days. She had a large bulge in her abdomen which was causing her discomfort and preventing her from being as active as usual.
Singer believed the bulge was an egg that had not been able to pass and took Lily into Whanganui Veterinary Services on Somme Pde.
Stoop said the bulge did not feel like an egg, which left two options - he could try to manipulate whatever it was out, or take an x-ray.
"The x-ray concluded that we weren't dealing with an egg and I thought it was a tumour at that stage," Stoop said.
"I offered to put the chicken to sleep because it was in a very bad state. Its chances weren't looking too flash."
Having not eaten for three days, Lily was on death's doorstep.
However, there was one option left on the table, an option very few chicken owners choose due to the cost involved. But Singer is not like most owners.
She told Stoop she was prepared to pay for surgery, but the doctor was not prepared for what he would discover.
"We opened up the abdomen and found that it was not a tumour, just an enormous amount of eggs that were forming in the egg-producing organ," Stoop said.
"We weighed it and it was almost 300 grams, which is probably more than 10 per cent of its body weight. For you or me that would mean an 8kg build-up."
Three hundred grams is about the equivalent of half a dozen eggs. The shells had not formed and the mixture of yolks had solidified inside of Lily.
Stoop was not certain why the build-up had occurred, but suggested that possibility was Lily had a calcium deficiency and was lacking strength.
The procedure took about one hour and during the process, Lily's oviduct was removed, meaning she will never be able to lay eggs again.
"If you specialised in avian surgery, this would probably be easy, but we don't do surgery on chickens that often which made it a bit exotic," Stoop said.
"It was slightly tricky, because it was inflamed, it bled a lot and it is very fragile tissue."
Lily is now back at home with Singer, running around, eating and digging holes in the yard with her three mates like she used to.
Singer forked out $529 to have the procedure done and considers it money well spent.
Stoop completed his training at a vet school in his native Holland, before moving to Whanganui almost three and a half years ago.
He said this was a rare situation, the likes of which would only happen a few times in the career of a veterinarian.
"I once had a labrador puppy that was brought in because it had knocked over an ashtray and consumed cigarette butts.
"We made it vomit and it vomited out two working gloves which the owner had been missing for a while. They were really big sturdy gloves like road workers would wear."
He also recently amputated a rabbit's leg after it got an abscess, again an issue not many owners would treat with surgery.
Singer has had four chickens roaming her Aramoho property for two years.
She purchased them from Rasmusen's Egg Farm at 12 weeks old.
"I wanted egg-laying chickens, but I also like them as pets as well. Lily can't produce eggs anymore, but that's fine, she's still my little pet chicken," Singer said.
"I love my chicken. I wanted her to survive and I made the right decision taking her to the vet. They did a fantastic job, they saved her life and I'm really grateful."