Ode to Old Hens... Pictures of the Seniors in Our Flock

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by speckledhen, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    We still have Meg, Dusty, Hope, Nugget in the Orp pen, led by their little Cochin man, Xander. Meg is 7 1/2 now! None are laying, though Meg did lay within the last year.

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    In the Old Hen's Retirement Home & Hospice, my Buff Brahma, Caroline (same age as Meg), is still with us, though her crop is very bad and she has developed some arthritis like Amanda. Amanda's arthritis is so bad in her left leg that she has no more use of that foot, but she still lays a couple of eggs every couple of weeks, wherever she is in the floor. Amanda and Becca are over 7 years old themselves. Gypsy has started up laying again this week-she will turn 7 in November herself. These old hens are amazing.
     
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  2. memphis

    memphis Overrun With Chickens

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    Awww....sweet girls.
     
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Yes, they are. We love them all.
     
  4. jerrey

    jerrey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I really enjoyed reading your post I hate to think of my girls getting older right now I have 17 hens that will be 2 in july and 16 1 month old I hate to think of anything getting old backyardchicken is the best place to learn any and everything about chickens
     
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    It's hard watching them age, knowing I'll lose them soon, but it would be worse never having the pleasure of their company all these years. Just an aside, I told my husband that I dreaded losing the old ones, but that there would be a surprise loss, one we never expected. That came yesterday in one of my 1 1/2 year old hens. So, you never know. I'm happy for the ones who've held in there for so many years. Caroline and Meg have now passed the 7 1/2 year old point, on the downhill slide to 8 now.
     
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    A few seniors today. Meg isn't doing well. She sleeps a lot, laying on the ground, much like Suede did a few weeks before he passed away. She will turn 8 years old in January, but I honestly don't think she'll make it that long. Hope, the Buff laying beside her, isn't old, only just over 3 years old, but has been bloating up and then slimming back down for the last two years. She only laid a few eggs in her early life and quit, then started this downward spiral, but it's a puzzling one. Right now, her abdomen is HUGE. I won't drain her because she cannot breathe when handled, but I will open her up when she goes to see what the heck happened in there. She looks awful with shrunken comb and waddling walk, but she's been down this far before and come back from the brink, just never lays eggs when she does. Her belly is larger than I've ever seen it, so this may be the last year for her.
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    Two other oldsters, Gypsy and Becca, eating seed heads off whatever the heck this is out of the compost pile that came from their scratch, wheat or milo, I guess. Today, I got two eggs, one was Gypsy's pictured below, and one belonged to my 5 1/2 year old Delaware, Georgie. The old ladies are beating the younger ones in egglaying at the moment.

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    ETA: As of the 23rd, Meg hasn't come out of the coop in two days. I'm afraid she wont be with us much longer. Gosh, she's such a great old girl, a true matriarch.

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    She finally came out late in the day, but it wore her out.
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    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
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  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    It's with great sadness that we announce Meg's passing today. She lived almost two years longer than her main man, Suede, and would have turned 8 years old in January. She was not ill, just old. Meg died in her daddy's arms. My husband adored this hen. Thanks to Julie Batchelor (Bama Chicken) who sent me the eggs from her RIR rooster over exhibition Buff Orpington hens to pad the shipment of Blue Orp eggs that Suede hatched from. Meg was the mother of many gorgeous sons and daughters; some of you may remember Traveler or Roosevelt or Hector, three of her sons with Suede. She outlived them all. RIP, beautiful red girl.
     
  8. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

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    I am sorry for you loss.

    Frenchy laid two more eggs and I put them under a broody hen to see if anything develops. [​IMG] I did cook some of hers and they had nice big yolks in them, but I'm not sure they were fertile. I did see a roo on her one day, but don't know if anything happened.
     
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Meg as a chick in the brooder, a portent of things to come-look at that fat chick next to the splash Orp baby!
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    She was very tall:
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    and she grew into a real beauty, a BIG beauty. She was my heaviest hen for most of her life. Even at the end, she had her full weight. She was even laying at the beginning of this year.

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    And she cared for Suede devotedly as he was dying. No head hen did more for a rooster than Meg did, keeping watch over him while he slept, laying next to him, grooming him until he begged for mercy. We will miss this one, our matriarch.
     
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  10. chickenneighbor

    chickenneighbor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So sorry for your loss. It's so hard to lose those special pets, they get such a hold on your heart.
     

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