Saying Goodbye to a Pet Chicken
There has been a lot of loss on the homestead this year. This week I said goodbye to my third chicken this year and I was devastated. I am thankful for the people who understand that it is more than a chicken. There are those who know the loss of a pet can hit hard.
My hen Kota came to us in March and I sure hated to lose her so soon. A couple weeks ago we noticed that she had hurt herself. She was having trouble getting around. We worked to make sure that she did not do any further damage and it seemed like she was doing better. She seemed like she was eating all the time and that actually reminded me of our hen Barbie who died earlier in the year. Barbie had coccidiosis, but the normal treatment of Corid was not enough to help her improve. She ended up being really underweight.
I then noticed that Kota had runny and yellow poo. Immediately I started treatment and even bought fresh product in case ours was too old. She seemed pretty normal at that point, but the next day late in the day, she seemed more off and was a bit puffed up.
The day after that she was on the bottom of the coop when I opened up, but when I brought out the treats, she came running with the rest of the flock. We did separate her that day because we could still tell that she was having some issues. She still had plenty of life in her though and she fought being isolated.
On the fourth day, she had deteriorated immensely. Since the weekend was over, I called the vet and they had me bring her in for an exam. By the time I got her to the vet, she was near death. I totally lost it.They put her on oxygen and checked her out. It was determined that she had a bacterial infection and that she was underweight. This surprised me because it really did seem like she was always eating.
The vet said that they could hospitalize her and try to save her, but she was pretty far gone and there was no guarantee that she would make it. She really was so weak and frail by that point that I felt it was best to let her go. They put her to sleep and we brought her home and buried her with the rest of our deceased pets. I cried so much at the vet, on my way home, and the rest of the day at various times.
It does amaze me how attached I can get, but they are my family, my children. Kota was such a pretty girl. She could be a bit fussy. Often she was not content to lay her eggs in the nesting box and we found her in some unique places. My favorite was when she would use a tall bag of leaves. When we first brought her home, she could be pretty loud, but quieted down over time. She was a sweet girl for sure.
As always, I wonder what I could have done differently. It is hard because chickens do so well at hiding sickness. We do try to keep things sanitary. One suggestion from the vet on the underweight thing was to weigh our other girls once a week. I think it’s a good idea, but not always the easiest to do. Our girls do not like to be handled. Sometimes I wonder if I am cut out to be a chicken mama, but I just can’t imagine my life now without them. It is also something that people now associate with me.
Read this editor’s letter about her new chickens and their lively personalities.
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