In the afternoon, because of a combination of factors; hypoglycemia, overheating, dehydration, & stress, I fainted in my car after I got up into it. In the past I’ve had seizures when I faint, so when I woke and realized what had happened, I called my hubby right away. My head and body ached, I was overcome with fatigue. I fell asleep on the steering wheel. I was asleep in my car, windows up, in the sun for maybe 20 minutes until my husband showed up. I was severally dehydrated and tired but, thanks to Matt, was able to cool off and we got home okay.
We came home to find that Amelia (my big yellow hen) was still “acting weird”. The past four days she’d been behaving oddly. She had a really pale egg, was hiding, acting broody, always standing, explosive poo-ing, falling asleep all the time. When I picked her up tons of water came out of her mouth. We knew she wasn’t doing well.
We brought her inside to cool off and I tried to rest. I couldn’t sleep, I was too worried.
So, around 8pm, we took her to an avian vet with a free first time visit just to get an idea of what was happening. Honestly I was really looking forward to the free education. I had a laundry list of chicken questions. But we got bad news. Her crop had distended and was swollen with liquid. Something was stuck somewhere and for a chicken…that is bad news. There were really no remedies that made sense for Amelia’s condition and honestly for her status as backyard chicken. I asked the vet if it seemed like she was in pain.
While I asked the question Amelia was just standing there sleeping, letting water drool out of her mouth. It was pretty clear. So knowing she was feeling so crappy, (the vet said, “She’s really, really sick, Haley.”) and might get to feeling even worse, we decided to fork over a few bucks and have her put down.
This was probably a lot more intense emotionally than finding her dead in the backyard. But I know it would have been miserable for her. We buried her late last night and cried together for a long time. Trust me. I know. It’s a chicken. But you know what, I raised her and loved her and will miss her a lot. I stroked her comb and head as she passed away, held her for a long time and just cried.
Our flock keeps getting smaller and smaller. I’m getting waves of guilt; did I feed her something wrong? Should I have noticed earlier? What if we brought her home and she bounced back? Should I even have chickens if I get this attached to them? Then thoughts, attempts at reassurance arise; “Haley, chickens suddenly die all the time”, “How long did you think she’d live?”, “You can get another one!”, “Don’t personalize her too much. She didn’t have human emotions.”, “God knows you’d love to see her again.”
Nothing but tears every time I woke up in the night.
This morning I thought it would make me feel better to go sit in the backyard with the other two. It didn’t. It doesn’t seem right. I know this post will seem so dramatic to me in the future. But really, this is how I feel. I’m mourning the loss of a loved pet.
Your thoughts and prayers would be appreciated as I go into a busy week. I co-direct a senior high youth camp on the Oregon coast and heading there physically and emotionally drained is never a good way to start the week.
I’d love to hear from you all. Thoughts, stories, chicken wisdom…I think dialogue would help me.
Here’s a picture of Miss Marple, Amelia and Lyra, all sleeping on their faces when they were only a few days old.