A pet-owner will be forced to wait eight years to retrieve a lost diamond earring after her chicken swallowed the jewel while perching on her shoulder.
Claire Lennon whose pet hen Sarah swallowed her £300 diamond earring
Claire Lennon, 38, of Berkshire, will not be able to recover the £300 diamond until her six-month old chicken Sarah gets old and dies.
Vets say the jewel, which was given to Miss Lennon by her partner Adam de Marco, is trapped inside Sarah’s stomach and an operation to retrieve it could put the bird’s life in danger.
Sarah could potentially live another eight years, forcing her owner to wait almost a decade for the return of the gift.
Miss Lennon said: “The vet said he could operate to recover the earring, but that might kill Sarah, which would devastate our six-year-old daughter Mia, who dotes on the chicken.
“So we’ll have to wait till Sarah gets old and dies, but they live to a ripe old age – we are probably looking at another eight years before I get my earring back.”
Miss Lennon described feeling a “sudden sharp pain” in her earlobe as she realised Sarah had gobbled down the earring whilst sitting on her shoulder at home near Newbury.
Miss Lennon and Mr de Marco, an IT specialist, put the chicken in a cage and spent the next few days searching the floor in case the earring had passed through the chicken.
However, with no sign of the diamond, the couple took their beloved pet to the vets.
“The X-ray showed it was stuck firmly in the gizzard so Carl [the vet] gave Sarah some laxatives, hoping it would pass,” Miss Lennon said.
“But it didn’t work, it’s still stuck fast and we have accepted it is trapped inside and won’t come out.
“The vet said he could operate and go in through Sarah’s stomach but it could prove fatal.
“We couldn’t face that – Mia adores Sarah and would be heartbroken.
“The vet said over the weeks and months, the platinum white gold would disintegrate and be ground down by the grit and stuff that hens eat to aid their digestion.
“But the diamond is so hard it will not be damaged and will just stay there in the until Sarah dies and then of course we can get it back.”
Bizarrely, Sarah is in fact a cockerel.
Miss Lennon explained: “He’s called Sarah because when we got him as a chick, we thought he was a she.
“When he got older and we realised it was a cockerel, we decided to stick with the name.
“Now he must be the most expensive chicken in the country!
“We’re keeping as close eye on him to make sure he doesn’t get caught, carried off and eaten by a fox or the diamond will be gone forever.
“It’s a shame I have lost the earring because it was one of a matching pair that Adam bought for me so they’re really sentimental and mean a lot.
“But we can’t risk anything that might mean we lose Sarah.
“At least we know where the earring is – and one day I will get it back, even if it means waiting for a few years.”