Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Wet Wednesday

...but it's making for some pretty plants, I'll say that.  The hostas are coming up and the lilies are averaging about a foot and a half tall.  The clematis, on the other hand, is already to the top of the trellis ! It's thundering here now and has been raining a bit. Good thing too...


  My sweet chicken died this morning. Bless her heart. It was horrid...the thing about chickens is this: they never die easily or quickly.  Hanging onto the last bit of life with everything they've got. At least that's been my experience so far. And something happened here today that may likely preclude my ever eating chicken again.

  The sick chicken didn't come out of the coop this morning, so I went around back to open the big doors and look in to see how she was doing. She was curled up in the corner, under the roost, in obvious distress. Her head was cocked at a funny angle and her breathing was labored. When you've been around chickens any time at all, you can tell things about them, and especially if they're not long for this world. And I could tell. I tried to reach her and pull her out of the corner (the FAR corner, naturally --I am barely 5 ft tall). I couldn't reach her, so I grabbed the little rake I use to clean the coop and sometimes pull eggs over closer to me, and I touched her with it. She barely could flutter a wing. I started to cry a little...and I wasn't sure what to do. SO--I decided I would just leave her in the coop until she was completely gone. The other 2 birds were very upset, and kept coming into the coop and going straight over to where she was. I needed to get them out of there, and then run around inside the fence and close that outside door. Naturally, I'd run them out--run around to the front--and they would have gone back up the ramp and into the coop. I could not get them to stay out.

  I went back around to the back and looked inside, and the Buff Orpington was walking all around her, clucking and clucking and trying to get her to get up. When that proved fruitless, she started scratching straw up over her back end. I shooed her away and got in there with a pitchfork that I gently slipped underneath her and pulled her towards me. The Buff was hysterical. I talked to her and she would not calm down. I finally pulled the sick one out and was holding her, and she took her last breath, shuddered and died. I closed up the coop and took the chicken over to dispose of her, said a short prayer for her and put her down.  I cried a little, but mostly I was glad the suffering was over. When I got back to the coop and opened those back doors, the Buff  was busy in that corner, digging around like she was looking for the other one. I went back in the house to get some fresh water for them. When I came back out, half an hour later, she had made a HUGE bowl shaped nest under the roost and they had each laid an egg in it. They never make nests like that outside the nesting boxes and they never both lay that close together. AND...they've been laying in the little cubbyhole out in the run when the board blocking it is down (which it was). 

 I was astounded at the levels of emotions I was witnessing in those chickens. The rest of the day, they kept walking around and around and pecking and peeking and looking...the Irishman said when he went out to put them up for the night, they were both, side by side, sitting in the doorway, looking out into the run. Like they were still waiting for their sister to come back...

 I wonder if this would maybe be a good time to introduce the babies into the's a little early and they're a little young, but the weather is unusually warm and ..oh, I don't know.


  I got stung by a wasp last night. He had decided that the door knob on my bedroom door was the perfect place for him to sleep, apparently and I went to bed in the dark...grabbed that knob and he got me on the finger. I cussed for a minute and went back into the kitchen where I put my finger under cold water a minute and then got out the box of baking soda and jabbed said finger into it, caking it with baking soda. The I got a small piece of paper towel, wrapped it around the finger, went back to the door and nailed the wasp with my dish towel and picked him up and put him in the garbage. And I went to bed.  The finger was stinging, but when I got up this morning, it was fine.  Didn't even swell..


  Had friends  for lunch. made the Turkish Lentil Soup and it was a big success...except they both thought it was a little spicy (it has cayenne in it). Otherwise it was wonderful.  I sliced thick slices of the artisan bread I made a few days ago and put the butter on the table. I made a lovely spring mix salad with pears and pecans and gorgonzola cheese crumbled on top. Then I mixed up a quick batch of an Australian recipe yogurt dressing that has chives, parsley, lemon juice and a dijon type mustard in it. It's awesome....We had a nice time and talked away the late morning and afternoon.  Then I turned around and had the same thing for supper with the Irishman.  lol


  Well...I am heading for bed after a full bittersweet day.  All the critters are in and sleeping, the thunder is rolling across the sky out there, and it's down to about 50 degrees. I can hear the rain gently falling, which will make for nice sleeping.

  Sweet dreams, all y'all...




Mary LA said...

This moved me so Annie -- I watch the little wild birds all around us and their agitation if one dies or a baby falls from the nest is heartrending. If it were not for the housemate I would remain vegetarian.

I hope your finger heals, a wasp sting is nasty. The perils of spring, so many bees and wasps around all of a sudden.

DJan said...

I too am glad her suffering is over, but it is also amazing to realize how sensitive the others are about their sister. Please be sure to take pictures when you introduce the little ones to the others, I can't wait!

Seems you did just the right thing with that wasp sting, I'll remember that in case I have one myself. :-)

Beth said...

I am so sorry you lost the chicken Annie. I had no idea that chickens would do that. They were grieving for their lost companion and the nest of eggs was a tribute to her.

I hope this is an extra special day for you.

Rubye Jack said...

Birds do display a lot of emotion. I watched a couple of crows yesterday being crazy about something or other. They're so smart. I'm sorry about the loss of your chicken and the wasp sting. Ouch!

Rita said...

I worked pet shops for years and those birds will break your heart with how they will hide illness with their last ounce of strength. You don't know they're sick until it is usually too late to do much about it. I suppose in the wild the sick get picked off quickly, so it is deeply engrained for their survival. Sorry she passed, but she is obviously missed.

Ha! I have to be so extremely cautious with the cayenne, myself. Tender Swedish taste buds accustomed to bland sauces and white meals, ya know! ROFL!

I didn't know that about wasp stings. Good to know. I'm scared of bees and wasps in the first place from being stung and it hurting so bad for so long. ;)

Have a wonderful day, sweetie!! :)

Mariodacatsmom said...

OMC - I never realized Chickens had emotions either and would miss one of their own. I see what you mean about never eating a chicken again. It must be hard to kill them to eat too after you have raised them from young.

CiCi said...

This just made me cry. I could feel the distress you were feeling and the other chickens were responding to the poor sister chicken being so ill. I am still not in a good enough place for this, I would not have been able to do it in person. If the chicken was sick and it was the end of her life, so be it.
A very good friend of mine has chickens as well as ducks and she refers to them as "her girls" and they give her eggs every day and she talks to them.

That was a good description but really hard to read.

Your lentil soup sounds great. Didn't you mention a lentil loaf one time? I would like to learn how to make that.