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.


  1. I think you've shown a remarkable combination of the sturdiness to see what had to be done and doing it. Tempered with the awareness of the loss of even a small life. You are going to be all right.

  2. My condolences. Sounds like you did what you had to do - maybe you stopped an illness from spreading to your other chickens, too?

  3. OMG, what a brave soul you are. I just couldn't do it. But I agree, you did the right thing rather then let her suffer hun. S x x x

  4. You are much braver than I could ever be. You did the right thing under the circumstances. You are becoming a true country girl - complete with fabulous shoes. Good for you. My heart broke for poor Beigy - at least she spent her last day warm and in fine company.

  5. AW! You are a brave woman, that's for sure. But I agree with all the other comments - you definitely did the right thing!

    Good luck with NaNo, by the way!

  6. By 'eck you're hard you! I hope your hubby takes note: Do NOT mess with the lady of the house. She'll yank out yer teeth at the slightest peep and if you still don't perk up she'll put you across her knee and cccrrrrrkkkkkk!!!

    I am deeply deeply impressed!

  7. Its all happening there - teeth being yanked out, chicken being 'taken care of'! And my goodness how hard was that. You did the right thing for Beigy, but I would have found it so difficult and called in a farmer to do the deed. Hope all the others are doing just great.

  8. Oh dear..... glad I wasn't there to see it. Did your 7yo bed to eat her! See you soon. Tx

  9. Thank you all:

    Feeling pants tonight. The 5yo is ok about my desperate deed but the 7yo is big-time sad about having a murderer for a mother.

    Daddy is away tonight so she has crawled into his vacated space in bed beside me, maybe she will like me again in the morning.....


The Archers at The Larches

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Snowy and Moon

Snowy and Moon