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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
Woman pays 1,800 for chicken leg
Sam and Vicky Mills with Lily
Lily has been taught how to stand on Vicky Mills' head by the couple
A woman from Cwmbran, Torfaen took out a bank loan and lived on beans on toast for a year to pay 1,800 in vet bills after her pet chicken injured its leg.

Vicky Mills, 24, was heartbroken when Lily, a Rhode Island Red, got her leg trapped in a barbed wire fence.

Despite the costs, Mrs Mills told her vet to try to save the limb rather than have her put down. When the treatment failed, she paid for an amputation.

Lily was also diagnosed with depression but has now recovered, said Mrs Mills.

The chicken's gloominess was thought to have been brought on by being in the house alone while Mrs Mills and her husband Sam were out at work.

So the couple now leave the television on all day to keep it company and it is a "happy hen again", they said.

Mrs Mills was given Lily, now three-years-old, when it was a two-day-old chick and she now lays up to six eggs a week for her and husband Sam.

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

The cost of the seven operations was "worth every penny", said Mrs Mills, who has forsaken her holidays this year to pay the vet's bills.

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

"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."

The couple have taught one-legged Lily party tricks like keeping her balance as she stands on Mrs Mills' head.

Mr Mills, 23, said the couple were "devastated" when Lily's leg got snagged in the barbed wire.

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

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

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