Tag Archives: death

No more Inky

 Inky is gone.  She wasn’t in her tree and I searched, and  found a half dozen black and iridescent green feathers. I’m heartbroken, and I’ve already been having a hard few weeks.  I want to get out of chickens, because it hurts too much.  I can’t protect them 100% and let them range.  It’s captivity, or risk.  It’s not fair though, it’s like they know which are my favorites, and get the special ones first.  Inky!   In the evening now I’m opening up the greenhouse adjunct garden, where only some root veggies remain, so that they will go in there for the last hour before bedtime and maybe be a little more protected from snatching by the fence.  The guineas were so excited about this access that they stayed out extra late.  In fact, they all went up to roost twice and came back down and  ran back out for some more rummaging.   This one still in the greenhouse:Where’d everyone go?  I thought we were going to bed.

Sick chicken

There’s a sick chicken (or maybe not sick, just elderly).

A couple of days ago:Comb gone limp and discoloured, and that characteristic no-neck stillness, like a semi-sleep.Or a whole sleep.

This is an old chicken.  There are still older chickens around, because I still have a few with chopped beaks (- what an awful thing), but she’s an elderly lady, as far as hens go.

Today: Comb almost completely flopped and pale, her wings are slumping down instead of held up on her back, and she’s hunched up into herself, dozing in the coop.

Sometimes hens come out of a state like this, perk up and return to business as usual, but most likely she’s approaching her departure.

This is how the hens go around here, except a couple unlucky ones that seem to get got by predators every year.  They enjoy a long retirement, and then they withdraw, drift into this less and less conscious pre-death state, and take themselves to the dark coop for the final sleep. Watching them go, it seems like the transition from life to death is long and smooth, not at all a single moment.

I find them stiff in the coop in the morning, sometimes stretched out, sometimes with their head tucked under their wing.

I think this is the best possible chicken way to go.  It seems natural and restful, but it’s hard to be sure.  They don’t look to me like they’re in pain, but I wish I knew.

*She completed her transition overnight

Goodbye Granny

Little Granny died last night.  The last of my three original hens out here.

She’s been hopping around with surprising vigor this summer, but I guess it was her time.  Yesterday I found her face down in the grass against the greenhouse and I thought she was dead then.

I picked her up gently and her head popped up with the usual indignation Hey, what’s a chicken gotta do to get a nap around here? so I set her down again nearer the flock, but that was it.

She made a rapid transition.  Often hens linger for a few days, standing around in a kind of half-asleep state before they go.  I always wonder if they’re in pain when they go like that, but they seem to just slip away, from dozing to tucking their head under a wing for the last time.

 

Limpy

I have a handicapped chicken.  I’ve no idea what’s wrong with her, but her right leg doesn’t support her weight.  She hops and tries to step on her right leg but it collapses under her.  I’ve grabbed her for inspection, and she happily hangs out in the football hold while I inspect her leg.  I’ve gone all over her foot for slivers, and massaged all up her leg, but she doesn’t ever flinch, just sternly watches me palpating her stuck-out leg.

The first couple days she stayed in or right next to the coop, and then she roamed a little farther, but not all the way to our house like the flock goes every day.  She seems to not want to get too far from the coop. I’ve had to put bowls of water in the woods in her range.  It’s tricky to leave food out where she will find it before all the other chickens do.

She doesn’t seem to be in any pain, but she’s obviously limited and subdued.  She’s got that injured animal wariness, hiding herself in the brush.  It’s a mystery what is going on for her if there’s nothing she winces at, but she can’t walk on it.

—-

I had another chicken die.  No known cause, but she was an old chicken, one of the original set.  I was getting eggs out of the coop and she was in there, and she didn’t skedaddle indignantly like they usually do.  I moved her aside, and she settled down like she was going to rest a bit more.

I checked on her a little later and she was still there.  I stroked her head and back (a dead giveaway that she wasn’t feeling well).  Her upside down lids closed and she fell asleep while I pet her.

I checked on her in an hour and she had tucked her head under her wing and died:(

Eulogy for a dog

I have to just go ahead and post this…(this has sucked the life out of June/July)…

I wrote this the last day of May (but didn’t get round to posting it), after our best friend had been missing six weeks. As we were to learn later, May 31 was shortly after he would have actually died.  The awful circumstances of his death were far worse than I had imagined….(explained end of post).

Eulogy to the most beautiful Dog

I’m beginning to accept that he is gone for good.  Dead, somehow, somewhere.  Not just lost, misplaced, but lost, gone.

Devastating doesn’t really cover it.
It’s a terrible loss; he’s missing, everywhere, everything I do, since I used to do everything with him.
I haven’t really yet felt any grief.
I get to keep thinking, “but he’s so beautiful and friendly, maybe he’s ingratiated himself into someone else’s life and he’s fine. Someday he’ll escape and come back, or not.”  I want to believe that he’s fine, moving on to another phase of life that is hopefully comfortable for him.

So far his dog’s life was a hard, difficult life, thrice rescued/rejected as unmanageable, and  we did a good job with him, slowly. He was such a mental case at first that the first several, miserable (why did you want a dog?) months were just managing and controlling him, to establish his place as a dog.  At the end, it was getting interesting, once we were mutually attached and he was content and secure in his place, teachable and proud of learning.   We had come to a really good place with him.  He earned some trust by being obedient and predictable, and he was much much calmer.

Continue reading Eulogy for a dog

First strawberries of the year!

20160609_170155 20160609_172516And the chives are making a bid for world domination.

Life carries on, driven to grow.

In the background these days, we are coping with the discovery that our beautiful dog, missing since April, died a long horrible death.  He was a five minute walk away on our neighbour’s property, and I am in disbelief and pain that I did not find him while he was still alive.  He was a  good and sweet dog and deserved much better.  I cry every day.