And now there are two

I lost my little Lady Chicken today.

She was three years old. She’d been ‘poorly’ for quite some time, by which I mean listless, with drooping tail, although she was eating and drinking, loved her treats, greens and shell grit, but just wasn’t energetic like the other two who are always so full of beans. She sat and dozed in the sun a lot. I’ve never been able to handle any of them; they won’t even tolerate me close to them and I thought if I forced her to be picked up it might do more harm than good and as for the recommended sticking of a finger up her backside to see if she had an impacted egg mass, well, that just wasn’t on, for either of us.

She’d stopped laying in October last year. The other two went on till that hot week we had in January and they stopped, too. They moulted, but Lady didn’t.

I didn’t think it was contagious as the others were so healthy. I wormed them, just in case. I just hoped she’d pick up, but she didn’t.

I finally plucked up the courage and caught her. She was so weak it wasn’t hard. I took her to a local vet who confessed his lack of expertise with birds and referred me to an avian vet. A fair way away, but I took her straight out there.

He weighed her and said she was just a feathered skeleton. Somehow she wasn’t converting her food into muscle. She didn’t have an impacted egg mass, but he found a lump the size of a golf ball in her abdomen. He could have done x-rays and blood tests and if they showed anything treatable, she could be treated but with no certainty of a good outcome. He said she would need force feeding to get her condition and weight back up to normal before any treatment. That wasn’t on, for me or her.

So he gave her an injection and she went to that great chookyard in the sky. She wasn’t a happy chookle, so now she’s at peace.

It will seem strange to see just Molly and Cheeky running around now. The three of them made such a good trio. Dumb, but plenty of laughs.

Vale Lady. Thank you for the delicious eggs and the poop for the veggies. I will miss you.

18 Responses to “And now there are two”

  1. narf77 Says:

    I felt guilty clicking “like” to this Bev. I am SO sorry 😦 I know how much you love your chooky girls and this would have hit you hard :(. I wish we lived closer as I could give you a couple of my young hens for your remaining 2 to beat up (my lot are used to being the bottom of the pecking order 😉 ). I have had a few chooks do the same thing as yours. I think it might just be a “chook thing” and as you say, if there is no good prognosis, it isn’t fair subjecting them to unholy torture on the off chance that it might help. Hugs from frigid Sidmouth…

    Like

    • foodnstuff Says:

      Thanks Fran, much appreciated. The only good thing about it was that I learned a lot from the vet. It was good to know there are avian specialist vets around, too. I will build a new chook run and get a couple more and introduce them gradually to the others. The vet says a quarantine period is wise before introducing new birds to a flock.

      Return hugs from (worryingly) warm Melbourne.

      Like

      • narf77 Says:

        Warm? Raining here and Brunhilda is going for broke. I found out that my daughters went to Melbourne for a day trip today and didn’t invite me!!! I could have come to visit with a chook under my hat 😉

        Like

  2. thecontentedcrafter Says:

    I felt the same as Narfie re clicking ‘like’. There should be a button option for ‘feeling your pain’ or ‘condolences’ or something. Your header picture shows three very healthy hens and it is so hard when one just withers away. I think you absolutely handled the whole situation very well – what else could you have done? I send wishes that your remaining two girls are happy and healthy [and laying] for a very long time!

    Like

    • foodnstuff Says:

      Thank you cc. I’m amazed when I look at that header picture to see how far she’d gone downhill. Her comb and wattles had almost disappeared.

      Like

  3. rabidlittlehippy Says:

    As the others say. ” Like” I think in this case means more along the lines of “we read this and we are with you”. I am glad your chooky is no longer in pain and she would have passed over knowing she was cared for and loved.

    Like

    • foodnstuff Says:

      Thanks Jess. I never thought I’d get so attached to a chook! In the end she would eat out of my hand and let me touch her (a little bit). I think she knew I understood she wasn’t well.

      Like

  4. Bek Says:

    I’m sorry to hear about Lady, but I’m sure you did the right thing to ease her suffering as best you could. It’s sad when these things happen but I’ve no doubt she had a great chooky life.

    Like

    • foodnstuff Says:

      Thanks Bek. I should have acted sooner, I know. The vet thought the lump was probably a tumour of some sort. They actually can do surgery on birds, would you believe?

      Like

  5. fergie51 Says:

    Its always very distressing when the things we care about aren’t at their peak. I commend you for dealing with it and not letting it drag out and become a game of chance with most likely no winners on either side. We lost a 17 (yes 17) year old bantam a couple of years ago and I was quite shocked that so many asked why we didn’t submit her to treatment. Doesn’t mean you care any less! I agree, there should be an “I’m felling your pain button”. Look forward to seeing any new additions that may arrive.

    Like

  6. Frogdancer Says:

    Never mind. I’ve had a few casualties but at least her demise was peaceful…

    Like

    • foodnstuff Says:

      I was hoping Mother Nature would take her course and I wouldn’t have to submit her to the indignity of a finger up the bum, but MN must have been busy elsewhere and I couldn’t bear to see her being unhappy any longer..

      Like

  7. Chris Says:

    As I was in the garden today, I saw the westringa we planted on top of our first hen casualty. I remembered our pekin bantam and the days we wondered what was wrong, as she slowly wasted away. Eventually Dave took pity on her, and ended her life. As I looked at the shrub today, catching the last rays of sunlight, it felt nice to remember she hadn’t completely gone – not while the plant still lived.

    It’s uncanny how I was thinking about the difficulty of that time, when I read your post about Lady tonight. There is no balm to make it feel right, just acceptance of what had to be.

    Have you buried her in the garden?

    Like

    • foodnstuff Says:

      Hello Chris, thanks for the kind words. Yes, she’s buried in the garden, with a large section of a cut tree trunk over her. I’ll put a bowl on it for a bird bath and plant some wildflowers around it. I miss her; she was so responsive to me when she was sick. It’s almost as if she knew I was feeling for her.

      Like

  8. Chris Says:

    It sounds like a lovely area to pass in the garden, to remember her with.

    Like

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