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Precious Hens

by Cherry Stoltz
(Pretoria, South Africa)

My Annabelle and Charlotte each laid 2 eggs a day but there was so much more to them than that! When they saw me coming, they jumped into my lap, snuggled their heads into my neck and made soft little hen sounds of contentment.

Once, they managed to get out of their portable coop and disappeared. I was frantic and had just had bilateral eye surgery so couldn't see much at all. A man walked past and asked if I knew of anyone who had poultry, as there were 2 hens in the garden a few properties away.

"Oh, Thank you! I do! But I can't see. Could you take me to them?"

"Yeeees, but how do you plan on catching them?" he asked...

"That won't be a problem!" I replied.

He led me to his garden and stood guard, expecting my hens to rush around in a panic. I squatted down and called out their names. Both came running into my arms and I took them home.

The hens and I were a talking point around the village for some time later - as I live in Africa! That was in 1999.

I still miss my girls so much!

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RIP Lovely Ladies
by: Cath

That is such a lovely story, Cherry. It's amazing what a part our hens play in our lives, that you can have such strong and happy memories so many years after they have gone.

A real testament to your care. Thank you for sharing.

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RIP Louise

by Dale Kettering
(Buena Vista, Co)

Last night, when I went to close the hen house door, there she was. Lying next to the hen house, dead.

She was fine in the morning. No signs of illness. I lost her sister, “Thelma” a year ago to eggs going where they are not supposed to go.

Louise was a Silver Laced Wyandotte. She would be 3 yrs old in March. She was a little bit bossy with her sisters, but was always curious about what I was up to. Whenever we would eat dinner on our patio, she would come running to wait for a treat to drop.

She lived a good chicken life, and one of her favorite things was to peck at cabbage heads hanging from a rope.

I will miss her, but now she is in chicken heaven with her sister Thelma.

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To Louise
by: Cath

Thank you for your sad story about Louise, Dale. Wynadottes are such lovely hens - beautiful to look at and, as you say, a bit on the bossy side!

Sometimes chickens just die for no apparent reason. It's heartbreaking and I feel for you.

As you say, though, she lived a good life and was happy and healthy. That's a lot more than some chickens can claim.

Sending hugs to you in your loss.

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Jenny

by Aimee
(Ben lomond, Ca)

Jenny was a young, 8 month old, Opal legbar hen. I treated myself and paid a lot of money for her as a young chick...she was just so beautiful.

And a stubborn little streak about her she had! She took over the other 2 hens and the young rooster, Hank...bossed them all around! Brought home 2 baby chicks and it was well over a month before she accepted them.

Jenny, was always sweet with us. Followed me around the yard everywhere I went.

She was fine one Sunday morning...left her in the coop/run with the others...came home a few hours later and she had passed away.

No attack, no illness, nothing obvious what caused her death. All I knew was that my sweet girl was gone and I somehow completely failed her.

It's been almost a month and I'm still grieving her. I miss her greatly...

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RIP Jenny
by: Cath

Thank you for sharing your story of Jenny, Aimee. Please don't blame yourself. Chickens are very good at hiding the fact that they may be unwell, because to show any sign of weakness is to make themselves vulnerable to attack.

And sometimes, they just die for no apparent reason. As you say, no signs of illness, nothing obvious. It just happens, and it's so hard to take.

Remember: you gave Jenny a good home where she knew she was loved and cared for.

Thinking of yo.

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Carmelita is gone..

by Darryl
(Ailsa Craig, ON, CANADA)

Carmelita and buffs

Carmelita and buffs

Back in August, we got six Orpington chicks. These are the first chickens we have had. We found homes for the two cockerels when they revealed themselves.

All had gone well, pullets were now 24 weeks old, and growing fast. There were three buffs and one golden mix (Carmelita). She was our favourite, as she was so beautiful.

All the ladies were doing fine, even after a week of -30C temps. (Coop is heated). Last night I went to put them to bed, and Carmelita was fluffed up, sitting in a back corner. As it was dark already, I thought she has gone to sleep, and was just a bit dozy.

This morning, she was dead. Can’t see any injuries other than it looks like she may have been pecked about the head.

We have asked our chicken mentor for advice, but she didn’t see anything wrong.

We are very sad, as she was our favourite, and extra sad as these were our first birds, and we were getting very attached.

So sad to see her go....

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RIP Carmelita.
by: Cath

I'm so sorry to hear your story of Carmelita, Darryl. When a chicken dies for no apparent reason, it's always hard to take.

She was a very pretty hen, and she was obviously well cared for while she was with you. That is all we can hope for our chickens.

Thinking of you.

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Pez

by Rebecca
(Gambrills, Md)

I had to have my not even 10 month old sweet Pez euthanized today and I'm devastated.

3 days ago I noticed her wattle was pale and she was a little less active and had some watery poo. Yesterday she was pretty lethargic but still eating. This morning I came out and she was still up in the coop which she never does.

I picked her up and immediately felt that her crop was huge and very hard.

I brought her inside and gave her a warm Epsom bath just to try to make her feel better and gave her a little olive oil.

By the time I had finished drying her off, she was panting and in obvious pain.

We took her to the vet and everyone ooohed and awed over how beautiful she was but the vet's expression when he felt her crop told me it wasn't good.

We did x-rays and they showed her crop was solid packed and her stomach and intestines were bloated.

There was nothing they could do. Even if they were able to operate successfully on her crop there was nothing they could do for her stomach or intestines.

If we hadn't decided to allow them to preform euthanasia, she would have suffered a very painful death.

I held her, kissed her, snuggled her, cried on her, told her I loved her, that I was sorry, that she was a good girl.

My husband, big tough strong man, cried with me, held her, we said goodbye.

It was heartbreaking.

We had them do a necropsy on her to find out what had killed her.

It was mulch. She was filled solid with mulch and her little body couldn't get rid of it.

Pez was so sweet, brave and smart. She made everyone smile and laugh. She made people happy. She made my days brighter.

I've had to say goodbye to a lot of things I've loved but I honestly wasn't prepared for how hard saying goodbye to one of my chickens would be.

I guess love is love. Loss is loss.

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RIP Pez.
by: Cath

What a touching story, Rebecca, and a lovely memorial tribute to a much-loved chicken.

One of the very hardest things we have to do for our pets is realise when it's time to let them go. You made a courageous decision. She would have been in pain had she lived, and that would have been unfair.

You did everything you could for her, and while she was with you she led a happy, cared-for life.

Thinking of you in your loss.

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