A Lesson from my Hen for us all


11 Years
May 15, 2012
Hi all,

I have many chickens now (about 30) but it all started with two beautiful golden comets. Back around the beginning of July, the neighbor's dog got loose and grabbed one of my first two, her name was Violet (the first five hens were named after the sisters on Keeping Up Appearances).

Well, at first we feared she was dead. Then we found her alive and feared she wouldn't last long. Then I examined her and found no broken bones and no bleeding, she just couldn't stand on one leg.

I isolated her and after a day she started eating well and drinking and everything was fine. I kept her separate and put hobbles on her to strengthen her leg and to encourage her to stand on it. She improved really quickly and after a little over a week she was well enough to go back with the big girls.

I feared that she was still having some kind of problem because when she was isolated, I cut the feathers around her vent (since she was sitting so much) and they never grew back between July and now (late October). Also I noticed she was losing feathers around her crop and her comb had been somewhat floppy since the attack, and worse of all, she had lost a lot of weight (she was probably 25% smaller and her feathers were duller than her sister, who she equalled in size before the attack). I figured maybe she was just moulting so I gave her as much extra food as she could eat (I would make warm mash and give her catfood, meat scraps, etc.). She interacted fine with the other hens as if nothing were wrong, she even regained her spot as top hen!

Then last night when it was roosting time, she was the last to come back to the coop. Her comb was almost completely flopped over and she was moving slowly, so I kind of felt that something just wasn't working out for her. I scooped her up and petted her, and she offered little resistance. I got a handful of feed and offered it to her and she ate a bit, and then slowly walked up the ladder to a flat landing by their nest boxes and didn't bother jumping up onto a perch.

I have been having a possum problem (caught three in traps so far), so I listened most of the night till around midnight for any signs of distress. I heard a flapping of wings and rushed outside, but all seemed fine. Violet was facing a different direction, so it must have been her, but she was still standing, albeit frailly.

So this morning When I let them out, I saw that she didn't make it through the night. I'm very happy that I didn't set her on her perch, because being on the flat landing let her drift peacefully away instead of crashing off her perch and dieing in pain.

I guess I'm writing this as a tribute to her and to chickens in general. They can have something terribly wrong with them, but heal up on the outside and keep on keeping on like nothing's the matter until the final moments of their life when their time comes at last. After the attack, she never stopped being friendly, she never stopped running up to me hoping for treats, and she never stopped being who she was, regardless of how she had changed. She didn't let her troubles get her down, nor did she let them bother the rest of the flock. Call me obsessed, but I think we can all learn a lesson from our peeps.
I've learned a lot from my chickens. They are wonderful creatures. So sorry to hear about your special girl
Thank you for posting this. My little Silkie is egg bound and struggling. I've been trying to do all I can for her but now I think she will let us know how things will end. So sorry for you losing your sweet chicken. My chickens have taught me a lot about life. That's why I enjoy them so much.
Wishing you all the best with your girl, Auntie Hattie. Even if the worse happens, it's a comforting feeling knowing that she had a peaceful end. I haven't had any experience with egg bound hens, luckily, but I can imagine it must be such a nervous time for you.

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