Sunday 17 October 2010
A Cry for Help
On Friday I noticed a sickly chicken; Beigy. She was lethargic, sorry for herself. I picked her up, a bad sign in itself, as usually you can't catch her. I popped her in a box with fresh bedding a drink and some fresh cooked rice. She wasn't interested. She sat with me in the warm kitchen, chatted occasionally, watched me while I wrote.
A friend came to the house to check that the log burner he'd installed was working correctly.
'Shall I wring her neck for you?' He asked.
'No. Thank you!' I said,..... she might get better......I wasn't hopeful.
I'm new to this country malarkey, to the people born to it; it is nature, a pure matter-of-fact. Don't get me wrong I won't let a creature suffer if I think it's in pain but I'll probably act later than I should. A chicken farmer friend had recently mimed out, (we were at a children's party,) exactly how to wring the neck of a bird. I'd asked him to show me in case I ever needed to dispatch a chicken, due to injury from fox or badger or illness. I felt it was my duty to learn.
As I left for school pick-up, I put her in the coop but I still wasn't hopeful.
I was only collecting the 5yo (the 7yo was on a sleepover,) he complained that he had another wobbly tooth, (his second, ) and that it was hurting him. If you read the blog regularly, you'll know that I wrenched the first tooth out of his head! I may add that this was at his insistence. Link to that blog post here. Anyhoo he asked me to do the same with his second tooth.
'It hurts and I want you to pull it out.' He said.
Later that night, as we sat on the sofa in front of a toasty fire, I did just that. Daddy almost fainted. Boy didn't say a word, oh, apart from thank you when I handed him his tooth! Strange child.
If I tried to do that to the 7yo she'd phone Childline..... quite right too really. Each to his own I suppose.
I'm full of cold this weekend, the nasty type that makes your brain hurt. I got up at 4am on Saturday morning, lit the log burner in the kitchen and wrote till 7am when the 5yo woke, happy with his 50p from the tooth fairy.
Worried about the chicken, I dressed and went out. The other 12 chickens pushed by Beigy as I opened the coop door, she was in a really poorly way. Although her comb and lobes were a healthy red, her little eyes looked at me and I knew she was feeling very unwell, hunched down. She made no chatty sounds and her breathing was shallow and fast.
I walked away.....made as if I was going to do the washing up but I knew what I had to do.
I could have called my neighbour. I could have asked hubby. But I did it myself. I'm the chicken carer, she knew me. I stopped her suffering. Then I wept because I'd taken a life.
I've checked all the other birds for signs of illness but they're all fine and even in death Beigy's coloring is good, we'll have a burial when the 7yo gets home. We've had chickens for a full year now and I'm pleased to say that's the first time I've had to dispatch a little chicken. No doubt it won't be the last.
One white hen has gone broody so today we've borrowed a small coop and contained run from our neighbour. Let's hope we birth some new little chicks to ensure life goes on. I'll let you know in about 3 weeks.