Caroline, Sweet Caroline (Update, Post 21, Feb 27)

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by speckledhen, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Caroline, my last hatchery hen, is now 7 years old, this month in fact. No hatchery hen of mine has ever lived to this age. January was the month of her hatch and it appears it may be the month of her death as well. Her crop has been progressively more pendulous and sluggish over the past year or so. We have provided multiple daily crop massages, but here are masses in there that seem to be hard as petrified wood, perhaps tumors and not food at all, masses we cannot break up. We try to push enough food through to make sure she gets nutrition daily, but she is losing weight.

    For two days now, she has ceased standing guard over arthritic Amanda, her usual job she took upon herself, and is standing alone, in an upright position, as if it's hard for her to breathe. Her eyes look tired and sunken. My husband massages her crop and places her under a heat lamp we have in there mainly because of Amanda's arthritis. Funny and strange thing is, Caroline laid an egg two days ago. Caroline has not laid one egg in almost two years until that day. I bet coming into lay again in this bone-chilling winter is stressing her system critically, especially as she fights her pendulous crop. We adore Caroline, the queen of everything around here, the one who takes over any flock she is put into, the one who takes no guff off anyone, even bossy old Amanda. She's a tough old woman, but her time is near. She and her late sister, Miranda, made me love the Brahma breed. They're strong, lay nice large roundish eggs, take heat or cold equally well, have friendly, but not irritatingly clingy personalities, and they're just plain beautiful hens. When we must hatch to replace hens gone on to their final rest, we will hatch, among the Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds, some Brahmas.

    Beautiful, sweet, tough Queen Caroline:
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    Back in 2011:

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    1 person likes this.
  2. Suzierd

    Suzierd Overrun With Chickens

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    Caroline Is a beautiful hen, I hope she snaps out of it and gets better. Maybe if the weather would get better.
     
  3. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    Its hard to see a beloved hen decline. Caroline is beautiful, she reminds me of my Buff Brahma. The really are a sweet breed.
     
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    That particular coop may see multiple losses before winter is over. Fern, my former best layer, seems to be suffering from EYP or internal laying, not sure which. One round of penicillin a few weeks ago seemed to help a little, but she relapsed, and now, stands around hunched up with a dark comb. Or maybe her heart is just failing, hard to say. Her daughter, Barbara, who is only a few months younger than she is, has a hard abdomen as well.

    That is the retirement coop, so it's full of older hens, 5-7 years old. There are 9 hens in it, but that number may be cut in half by the time spring gets here, the way they're looking. At some point, I might be able to consolidate Suede's hens and their banty Cochin rooster (they think he's an irritating toy) with this group in the larger side. Caroline and Meg, who is also 7 years old, are too dominant and a fight between them would result in one of them, probably Caroline, dropping dead on the spot, so one of those two hens must not be here to integrate the two groups.
     
  5. b.hromada

    b.hromada Flock Mistress

    Awwww. Caroline is a gorgeous girl. I so hate to watch them wither away, [​IMG] but this is life, and it sure does hurt a lot. Here's a hug, I hope it helps a little bit. [​IMG]
     
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  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Lost Barbara today from that coop. Her abdomen was hard and she apparently had fluid filled lungs. She died a few minutes ago. She was a BR, only 4 years old, a small hen who laid huge eggs. I think that might have done her in.

    RIP, Wonky Little Barbara

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    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
  7. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    Sorry about little Barbara. I had a hen who lived longer than I expected with EYP, but sadly such a condition takes a hen down eventually.
     
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    That is very true. Happened here more than I care to remember. Barbara was the 2nd generation from the hatchery, but I think it had something to do with one of her huge eggs, maybe it dropped into the abdomen, something I've seen before in a hen who laid humongous eggs. Anyway, there was nothing we could do. She was just a funny little hen, sweet as she could be. We'll miss her.
     
  9. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    Always a sad time when you lose the old timers. Although in a strange way I feel honored I was able to keep them to old age and give them a dignified retirement, and ultimately a respectful death.

    Here's a neat story about my very first pet chicken. My mother purchased her from a feed store because all I wanted for Easter was a chicken. I was 12 and had a strong work ethic. Mom and I bartered-I had to mow grass-which I did thus I earned my very first ever pet chicken.

    LaPeep arrived at probably 2 days old and fit in the palm of my hand. She arrived in my life when I was 12 and was alive and living with me when I was married at 21. She died when I was 22. That single chicken created the most unique childhood memories anyone could ever have. Although I mourn her death, to this day I celebrate her life and the memories she created. And that is what life is all about. At least it is for me.
     
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I couldn't agree more. They are such dignified animals, if people would only really observe them, I mean really see them. I've watched hens preside over the death of their head hen, then themselves become the head hen, only to have the next in line watch over her as she declines. It's like a passing of the torch. Few get to see that, probably because they refuse to believe what they are seeing. I feel blessed. They are not stupid as rocks, like some would have you believe. I've seen enough to know they have intelligence and dignity. Of course, like humans, some are smarter than others, LOL.

    What an amazing story about LaPeep! I hope one of my girls lives to that ripe old age. They are so precious to me.

    Caroline's crop is still baseball size after 24 hours without food and with multiple massages and pushing food back through the passageway. It just is not working. When that happens, it's only a matter of time. They can't go on long with that condition. She sure outlived her genetics, though.
     

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