On the loss of a hen


8 Years
May 6, 2011
I have not visited this site much since last Tuesday, the 27th of November. We lost our oldest and best hen that day. I would not be stretching the truth at all if I said that she is the reason I still have chickens. My husband named her Jenelle-Hen after me. She always followed me around the yard and she and I moved as one unit as I worked on projects on our little farm.

My husband had chickens when he was younger and I had never had them. When we decided to get chickens again four years ago we decided to get started pullets and found a guy on Craigslist who was selling 1-month old hens. When we got to his place, he offered us two of his year-old hens as well so we could have layers immediately. We reached in to grab a few of the year-olds and this little red hen ran right over to us. She and her friend, Addie (who we took as well when she became frantic at seeing her buddy caught), came home with us along with nine month-olds. Within a day or two, she had stolen our hearts. Watching her run toward me with her little wings pumping frantically to propel her as fast as she could go is an image I will always carry with me. She was so friendly and laid an egg every single day since the day we got her. I had to carry her into the coop most days because she wanted to stay outside just a little longer. She always protested. She was keen on doing things HER way.

The rest of our flock was not friendly and I didn't really like them. But she made me want to continue on with raising a flock at our farm to have more friendly chickens. If she had not been in that flock, showing me how friendly chickens could be, I would not have bought our chicks this past spring. They are now a flock of lovely pullets who all run when they see us.

This spring too, however, Jenelle-Hen started to slow down. She stopped laying, her feathers looked ragged, but not unhealthy. I could feel a mass growing in her abdomen. Two weeks prior to her death, her friend and companion Addie passed away peacefully while sunbathing in our arena. After that she really changed. She would wander around the farm far from the other chickens. She would not come running when I called. I went to carry her over to the other chickens one day and she lay quietly in my arms as I carried her. On Tuesday when I got home from work, she was lying on her side in the coop obviously in the final stages of life. It was cold so I bundled her in a blanket. I could not stand the thought of her dying cold and alone. I held her and my husband and I decided to help her along if we could. Neither of us could do the deed. We called a vet who was kind enough to help us out, but she had her own way one last time and died on the table in our arms right when we got there. Goodbye, my little sweetheart, you will be missed.

Jenelle-Hen, age 2

"Helping" me clean horse stalls last fall.

Again, age 2

Age 1, just a few weeks after we got her, she surveys her domain.

These photos really capture her personality well. Sorry this is so long. People may say they are "just chickens" but these little critters really can steal our hearts and take pieces with them when they're gone, can't they? I will miss this little hen.


Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
People who say "they are just chickens" have no idea what they are talking about. Chickens are amazing little creatures and wonderful companions.

I'm so sorry to hear about your girl.
Some of them really do hold a special place in our hearts.

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