Warning: This will not be a traditional, light-hearted post from me.
As of Saturday, I have five chickens instead of six.
Millie, the hen that had the impacted crop in December that I somehow managed to cure, passed away that morning. That simple chicken’s death impacted me a lot more than I thought it would.
She’d not been feeling right for about two weeks, and I’m still not exactly sure what was wrong with her. I tried all of my usual chicken treating tips to help since I don’t have a vet around that treats chickens. No luck.
I know I should consider myself pretty darn lucky since I’ve had my laying hens for 2.5 years and only recently lost one. It may have been just an old age issue to begin with. However, I was surprised how upset I became over the whole thing. I originally thought my attitude would be “Eh, it’s just a chicken. It’s not like it was a pet. She’s out of her misery now if she was miserable.”
But that’s a lie. To me, they are pets despite being livestock, and maybe that’s foolish thinking on my part. They’re not affectionate like a cat or dog, and they certainly don’t sleep in my bed at night or even live in the house, but they are animals that I am responsible for. They provide me eggs. And in return, I feel like our unwritten agreement is that in return for their eggs, I keep them fed, protected from predators, healthy, housed in a clean environment and all of the bugs they care to eat.
And with Millie’s death, I feel like I didn’t uphold my end of the bargain.
Of course, things die. I know this. They die, are returned to the ground, and the circle begins anew.
The rest of my little flock is fine with no signs of any illness. For that I am thankful. After discussing Millie’s passing with my family, I’ve been told I did all I could do to the best of my abilities. That still hasn’t stopped me from second-guessing myself though.
Maybe it’s simply a case of plain farmer’s luck.