So me and my wife have around 40 chickens. We use them mainly as egg layers, but as they get older and stop laying eggs we do butcher them at some point closer to the end of their life so that we can utilize as much of the animal is possible.
With that being said it doesn't make the loss of a chicken any easier at least not for us. Bok Bok however was a special case.
I found bok bok November of 2019. We live in the middle of Idaho, so November is very much winner for us here.
I saw Bok Bok on the side of the road at first. Not sure what I had seen, so I pulled over to go see what it was and I realized it was a very young Rhode Island Red. If I had to guess I would say maybe 8 weeks old. I'll attach a photo or two.
I have no idea where she came from. The few residents that were around no one had chickens that I could tell. So I scooped her up in my truck capper with me for the day until I went home.
When I got home as me and my wife were looking her over, we realized both her feet were completely frostbitten. Unfortunately there wasn't much we could do, so we just did everything we could gave her a nice warm place to stay. Just tried to let her know she wasn't alone.
After a couple of days she ended up losing both of her feet completely they fell off from the frostbite. Not knowing how she was going to deal with this we just kept doing what we were doing. Unfortunately we had to keep her separate from the other chickens as they would have killed her due to her handicap.
Since she was quarantined in a sense, me and my wife would spend a lot of one-on-one time with her. She kind of became just our pet chicken, but as time went on when she started laying eggs and was hopping around pretty good. The bases of her feet rounded off and became knobs, and she was able to get around with the assistance of flapping her wings.
She ended up being a very happy bird and we did get her special treatment because we didn't ever want her to feel alone.
My wife went out to collect the eggs to one day and we noticed that there wasn't an egg. We didn't think much of it as chickens don't lay eggs everyday. When she went out the next day, Bok Bok still didn't produce an egg. This started the raised concern, but we didn't know if it was normal or not - haven't had this issue before.
That third day when my wife went out Bok Bok was dead. We don't even believe she was a year old, maybe 9 months. We started to do some research and now we believe that she was egg bound which was something we were unfamiliar with. This made the loss of her even harder, because it was something we could have helped her with. There are things you can do for an egg bound chicken to help them pass the egg.
We're not certain that this is what took her but it's what we believe. It was a very hard loss saving this bird, helping it through its injury and then seeing it thrive, just to lose it before it was even a year old was very hard.
Chickens may not be the most intelligent of birds but they're by no means stupid and they know who you are. They recognize you and a relationship does form.
I think the thing that breaks my heart the most is knowing that she died alone.
So for everyone who has lost a chicken that wasn't just an egg layer or a butcher bird, me and my wife both know what it's like.
So for all the lost chickens out there, you're still thought of.
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