Cuddles. The BEST chicken in the world to me.
April 23, 2014 - May 14, 2016
To those of you who remember Cuddles, she was a special girl. I had wanted a lav orp for a long time & finally could afford 4 eggs. From those 4 shipped eggs, we hatched 2 chicks: Cuddles & Tank. Cuddles loved to sit on my lap & watch TV. She was always spoiled, but also gave back to me in many ways. I worked with her so she came running & responded to her name (not just the :Ch Ch Chicken call) She followed basic commands like "Go coop" ;"Go run", "Go crate" (travel cage), "up" = jump in my lap. The fun part was when I trained her to peck at targets. I would write words on cards & she would select the card with a tiny red dot. I could ask her the most complicated questions & she always got the answer correct! (to the amazement of many middle school students! LOL) We then went one step further & I taught her to peck at only the Queen of Hearts. As long as I did my part correctly & forced the volunteer to select Q-hearts, Cuddles (my physic chicken) could read their minds & peck at the card they randomly chose. It was so precious to see Cuddles think. She would look back & forth between cards often tilting her head to view at different angles before making her selection. My DD then decided to work with Cuddles. She tried agility training & got Cuddles to walk through a hoop. That was about it. Let's face it, Orps are not made for agility, but dear Cuddles tried her best to please us.
Cuddles loved the attention. She was fearless of visitors & would let anyone pet & hold her - in hopes that some sort of treat would be given. She loved her treats! Even without food, she jumped up into my lap for attention or simply followed me around the yard - "chatting the entire time.". Our backyard seems so empty & quiet now. I miss my Cuddles.
Back in early Sept, she had some type of severe illness & stopped eating. I dewormed, gave Corid, and even learned how to tube feed so Cuddles would not starve to death. She lived! I followed up with yogurt & ACV. Never sure exactly what it was, but she molted & life went back to normal for a while. In March, Cuddles had a mild relapse. Her abdomen felt swollen & hard. I knew she had something serious. It seemed like her poop was being blocked & her crop was slow. The digestive & poop issues cleared, but the firm abdomen remained. My guess is that she was internally laying or had tumors. We decided that chicken hospice was our plan. It continued to grow, but even when ill, Cuddles was the 1st to greet me every morning. DD & I were away on Sat. When we returned to lock up the flock, Cuddles looked weak. I planned to bring her inside for the night due to the cold. I sat on the sofa with Cuddles in my lap. She briefly seized, then placed her head in the palm of my hand. She looked up at me a drew her last few breaths. It seems that she waited for me to hold her one last time before letting go.
I have other chickens, even other lav orps, but sometimes the brightest stars burn out the fastest. Cuddles was MY chicken, my favorite, my companion, my comforter, & my friend. She was so much more than "a chicken". I guess I'm writing all this because only those who have fallen in love with a chicken can understand how sad I feel right now. RIP my dear, sweet Cuddles.