Beatrice, a beautiful 10 month old Plymouth Rock hen, was gently euthanized yesterday. We fought the fight to keep her alive for 11 days. We focused our efforts on what we could do that MIGHT help her to get better. We based our treatments on the symptoms we could observe. We did not have an x-ray or the seasoned hands of an experienced avian veterinarian. We did this because we have many chickens that will inevitably fall prey to illness and some of us don’t have avian veterinarians available and some of us don’t have the funds to take every chicken for treatments. So we do the very best that we can. We are fortunate to have a community of people on Backyard Chickens. These folks share their knowledge, experiences and care without charge because they love what they do. They care about the animals they have chosen to bring into their lives. In my opinion, when I choose to keep animals I have a responsibility to do all I can to see that their needs are met and they are kept from harm. Many would disagree. “It’s just a chicken!” Anyone who spends time with any animals in their care knows this for the shallow statement that it is. While I am not one prone to anthropomorphism, I appreciate the singular characteristics of each animal under my care. My hens and my rooster have names. I recognize one from the other (most of the time) because of the unique way in which each one behaves. Beatrice was plucky. While she acknowledged the pecking order in her flock, she wasn’t one to shy away from a confrontation when it was in her best interest. She loved grapes. She was front and center when I brought out a platter of warm scrambled eggs on a cold morning. She did not like being held and she loudly let me know about it. Beatrice had an ailment that no hand feeding, Pedialyte pushing, Corid dosing or worming medicine could solve. She had “ectopic yolk”. This means that instead of her egg descending to the uterus, it entered her abdominal cavity. Think ectopic pregnancy. The result was inflammation and pressure against her intestines. Unless one is willing to spend an enormous amount of money on surgery, she could not be saved. When I told the story of her illness and the care the vet asked, “Where did you go to veterinarian school?” I thought he was being snarky and replied humbly that I had been a nurse and that I had the support of a community of very knowledgeable and experienced people on BYC. He quickly told me that he was being serious. He was impressed that we had kept this chicken nourished, hydrated and alive as long as we had. I give this credit to my friends at Backyard Chickens. We did our best; we humanely cared for one of God’s creatures using all our compassion, knowledge and experience. I humbly thank you all. With great admiration, Carol C. For Beatrice's full story see: Sick hen maybe coccidosis? Impacted crop??