by Jasmine Dixon
For the longest time I had wanted chickens, and this past Valentines day my boyfriend made that possible. He built me a huge, beautiful coop and I had 7 red sex link hens. They were gorgeous.
Shortly after they had settled in, we had a horrible ice/snow storm. Of course they had heat lamps, heat being ran to their coop (just like our horses had) and were very well-protected from the ice and snow.
I went out first thing the next morning to check on everyone and all but one was okay. She was laying in the snow. I grabbed her and immediately took her inside. I grabbed a heating pad and did the best I could to warm her up but she passed.
When spring rolled around, the other six hens were doing great. Playing around, happy as can be, and had a lot of yard to forage in. I went to check on them one afternoon after work and I found two dead, one missing, and one severely injured. Luckily we have cameras placed around our home and barn and we caught the neighbors dogs that did this.
We have high fences, along with barbed wire and electric fences. It blew my mind that they were about to get in. I was so hurt and devastated. My own two dogs do not even harm the hens. We buried the two and searched endlessly for the other with no luck. I took the injured one (Hennifer) to the vet where she had two surgeries. The dog attack tore into her intestines and lady parts. After two weeks in the vet I brought her home and turned our spare bedroom into a nice home for her until she could return to the others. We had a mini coop built that was easy for me to keep clean and keep her comfortable. In the meantime, my boyfriend bought me five barred rocks hens. They got along great with the others but I still loved my red girls.
After being home nearly three weeks, she laid her first egg since the accident, it was also on my birthday! She continued to lay several days after that. Out of nowhere the eggs just stopped.. I figured since she had the surgeries, it was normal. The vet said her healing time would be 4-6 weeks. I noticed this past Sunday she didn't want to eat, but if I let her out in the yard she kind of pecked and hopped around a little. So we spent some time outside. On Memorial Day morning, I went to check on her and I found she had passed.
I don't understand how she could go from seeming to be improving (eating, moving around better, laying), to passing. I found no blood or anything around her. She seemed to just lay there peacefully. It broke my heart. I felt a bond with her since her accident. She was my little trooper. I miss her waking me up with cooing, her beating up on my dogs and them letting her, and little Hennifer begging for crackers. She quickly became a part of the family and will always be missed. After reading up on hens, I think that maybe she was egg bound, she laid then suddenly stopped. Or maybe an infection sat in. I don't know. I kept her clean, gave her baths, kept her coop spotless. I couldn't tell if she was egg bound because she had to already lay down on her side due to her surgeries, she was left with a permanent limp, and if I checked under her she would act outrageous.
I keep reminding myself, and I have other family tell me, that she knew that she was loved and well taken care of. That she had more love than most chickens get to experience. I just wish I could've done more or knew what exactly happened.
Rest in peace my little Hennifer, you are forever missed.