I have been keeping chickens strictly as pets, not for meat or anything of the sort (the eggs are just a bonus) since I was about 7. They've always been MY chickens, I was the one who fed them, watered them, kept their coop clean and such. Ive had several small flocks of about 5 or under since my first "flock" of 3. This means I've dealt with a few chook deaths, each one leaving me super upset. This one hit me the hardest.
Sweetpea was a rescue. She was found in a box on the side of the road by some friends of my aunt, and my aunt suggested she live with me. I happily took her in. A happy little ISA. Super well socialised, we figured she was probably the result of a hatching at a kindergarten or something, then the owners decided she was too much work.
I had only 2 chooks at that point, and they didn't take well to her at all. Constant bullying and harassment, leading to feather loss and the like. We got her a little hen saddle to help, and when it didn't we got her her own house where she lived happily for a long while, safely away from her bullies. Her feathers grew back and she was a happy little chook who loved cuddles and head pats.
About a week ago, I noticed she was quite flat and lethargic so she went to the vet. She was shown to be fairly underweight and had some worms. No big deal, for the next 2 or 3 days I fed her lots of her favourite foods, corn and eggs and cat food to help her feel better, and it seemed to work. She was happily eating and drinking plenty, she was wandering about the yard and having naps under her favourite tree. Until tonight.
She had in the last day or 2, moved back to her coop to make her feel more at home and get less disturbances in the night. I went to her coop to close it for the night, and saw her in the roost as usual. She didn't lift her little head in response to my torch so I opened the coop door. Her little head was tucked snugly into her chest, and she was in a comfy roosting position, so I can only guess she passed quietly in her sleep. I wish I had been there for her, to hold her and sing to her, but I will have to settle for the fact that she had many treats, snuggles and kisses in the last week. And I did all I could.
She was a tough little thing. Abandoned, then bullied before being able to have a happy peaceful life, but I know she had a much better life with me than if she had been left in that box at the side of the road to be attacked, hit by a car or abused in some way. I formed such an attachment to this little bird, and I hope she is happy and hanging out with my previous birds, wherever she is.
I love you, Sweetpea.
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