Saturday, 26 September 2009

The mean reds...

I'm back with a brand new computer......

I really wanted to give the blog a bit of a re-vamp and post up lots of flowery and chicken stuff that's been going on in my absence, but today is a very sad day here and I really need to get this out.

Earlier today my husband had to break the neck of one of my darling little silkies.
Tuesday morning I noticed little eliza dolittle was looking a little hunched up and wasn't eating much, so I make up some yoghurty mashed potatoes with a dash of poultry spice for her(and all the others I now have 28 birds but I'll talk about the
new ones another day).
Wednesday morning she had gotten worse looking really sad and wasn't eating anything, now being without a computer and having lent my chicken books to a friend I was a total loss of what to do. I lifted her out of the run and she was so light and her breast bone was sticking out. The vets were closed and I couldn't have taken her to the poultry vets (which are miles away and only really deal with commerical poultry)so I rang a few places that sell poultry to ask advice and the only one I could get through to told me if it wasn't a bird sold by them they couldn't help but told me as it was a silkie it was mareks and it would by dead in a few hours so knock it on its head. This really upset because if it was mareks the other one would be infected too and possibly all the others. The silkies are in a run separate from the others but I could have spread the disease to the others. I quickly took eliza away to the spare room and sat there sobbing with her cradled on my lap.
I looked up in a book the correct way to dispatch a hen and lifted her gently up and got my hands in the position around her neck to practise (sorry if that sounds a bit macabre) and that was when I felt her crop sort of gurgle. Sour crop.

Hubby came home that night with the computer and I spent a few hours reading up on sour crop and what to do. So I sat there with her and gently flushed her crop with warm water, gave her olive oil and massaged it trying to cleak all the fluid in it. I managed to induce vomiting and cleared some horrible gunk and some corn and grass. I got her to drink because the vomiting will cause them to dehydrate and tucked her up for the night.
Thursday morning I took her to the vet and he gave her an injection and some antibiotics. To cut a long story short Thursday and Friday I tried to nurse her back to heath feeding her yoghurt and mashed chick crumb with a syringe and massage her crop but she showed no real signs of improvement I didn't want to give up on her as she was still moving about slowly and cheeping that beautiful little cheep silkies do. I even had her in the flower bed with me and dug for worms which she pecked at ate. This morning though she had really gone down hill over the night, she wouldn't even get up just lying with her eyes shut I tried one last attempt to massage her crop and gave her some sugery water but nothing. So hubby did the deed. She had lost so much weight and even if the sour crop had cleared up she didn't have the strenght left in her.

I feel so amazingly sad almost grief stricken. I know I tried everything I could for her but I feel like I failed her by not being able to make her better.

This is the hard thing with animals and it doesn't help that I'm a big softie but when you spend so much time nursing some little creature it really breaks your heart.
I've been wondering if becoming a smallholder and raising birds for sale, eggs and especially meat is something I'm cut out for. I think I am, even though I feel so upset at losing a bird. We currently have some indian game birds living in the field that are due to be dispatched for the table in a month, this is something that I feel ok with, I let them out in the mornings have a quick chat with them feed them then come back in the evening and shut them up for the night. Ok I will probably get sad when the time is up but I can make the separation between them and pets. Also they are having a great time free ranging, eating corn, scratching about , dust bathing etc which most meat chickens don't get (and intensive/battery farming degusts and upsets me deeply). The bunch of cockerels I've got can't all stay with me so I'll try to rehome them if I can and I'll be a bit upset by that too. The silkies though are something I wanted since I was a little girl and I first saw them at a country show, they were destined to be pets and broody mums.
Its making that distinction between destinys. I know I'll get upset over many things but this silkies demise has really affected me hard.

But life goes on I have three 5 week maran boys who I can see trying to balance on their perch with is very funny to watch, boo the buff sussex is trying to catch flies and flipping margo and pixie keep creeping down to the bottom garden and are trying to dig up the bulbs I planted yesterday. Also I need to pick out some of the silkie x english game bantams (hubby bought them last week)to be friends with little holly golighty whos know all alone and alfie is trying to climb on to my lap because he's worried about me crying and wants a walk.

I'd also like to say a huge thank you to John (Going Gently) Sara (completly quackers) andy spicySpicy cauldron Rachel (Hernegardens)and Norah (Norahsark) and anyone else I've forgot, for all the help, advice and love you gave to me and eliza over the last few days, you guys are true legends and the thing I missed most about not having a computer was chatting with all the cool people I've virtually met through it.
Bless you, your all stars.

Also thank you to my gorgeous husband for not being insensitive and laughing at me when I was sat on the kitchen floor rubbing her crop and singing bright eyes and moon-river to her or when we went to the supermarket and you not noticing I had yucky chicken goo on my jeans and t-shirt and for being brave and stopping her pain.


aromatic said...

I so understand how you feel, I would have been just the same (although I don't keep chickens, I think they are adorable) You must console yourself with the knowledge that you did your very best and loved this silkie with all your heart... and because you loved and cared for it so much you had to do what had to be done...
And yes life goes on... and so you should carry on with what you do best and that is to care and love all of those around you, cannot think of anything nicer!!
With Love, Jane xxx

Magic Cochin said...

Hi Jess - noticed you'd found me on Twitter so popped over to see who you are (and check you aren't spam - I've had to block some right wierdos!)

Oh - I want to give you a big hug - I've been there and got the T-shirt (yes, the one with chicken goo on it). So, so sorry - it is hard and like you, I'm thankful I've a husband who can help me when it's obvious the kindest thing is end it.

On a more cheery note, I see you have an 'under gardener' - but I don't think he'd get on with mine ;-)


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John Gray said... have done everything ABOVE and BEYOND the call of duty.......a sick hen IS A REALLY SICK you gave her the best of chances......

your hens have a great MOM....believe me I know


Jess said...

Thanks for your kind comments, sometimes keeping and caring for animals can be heartbreaking but when its good its so much fun and so rewarding that it makes the bad days worth it.


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