Thursday, 29 September 2011

A Heavy Heart

The sun is shining and my heart is heavy.  My big white hen died in my arms this morning.  I am so glad that she is not suffering anymore but I am sad for her passing.  I only have two hens now.  Polo was the hen that held the group together.  I don't know that I will ever keep hens again once the other two have gone.  I had an idyllic image of hens roaming free around the garden.  I had to scrap that idea once the fox population grew in the area.  I see foxes every day now whereas when I was a child I think I only ever saw one fox.

I am unable to find a vet who is knowledgeable or who even cares about chickens.  Many just see them as livestock.  Now I know there will be vets who do care but unfortunately there aren't any around these parts. In addition to this, chickens are susceptible to a wide range of health problems.  They need to be wormed every month, they can get red mites and become anaemic, if they eat corn they need to eat grit to break it down, they need oyster shell or calcium supplements to help them produce hard shells etc, etc.

If I haven't put you off of keeping chickens, I would urge you to research as much as you can about them before taking them on.  They are not an easy option and they do require lots of attention just like any other pet.   I didn't realise, until Polo got ill, that the large Sussex type birds are more likely to suffer from a prolapse due to producing extra large eggs.  If I had been equipped with this knowledge beforehand I wouldn't have chosen this type of bird as a layer.  Make sure you can find a vet that specialises in chickens too so that you can get expert help when needed and not driven into a panic like state as I have been over the past week.

19 comments:

greenthumb said...

So sad, for you but glad she is out of pain. Keep strong.

Toffeeapple said...

I am so sorry to hear that Simone. I hope your heart will lighten very soon. Sending hugs your way.

Hen said...

I'm really sorry to hear about your hen, Simone. I'm sure she had a happy life with you.
Hen x

Rosie said...

So sorry to read this, Simone. Will be thinking of you. xx

greenrabbitdesigns said...

So sorry to hear about poor Polo's passing, as I've said before these things are some of the hardest things in life to deal with when you are an animal lover.
One thing for sure is that she had a good life with you and you were with her to the end.
Take care,
Vivienne x

Scented Sweetpeas said...

Sorry to hear that Simone, there is not too much you can do with a prolapse I don't think apart from help the egg out before they get too far down the line :-( Luckily my Dad is a vet so I always go to him with questions but ours have been ok so far (touch wood). Take care x

Puppet Lady said...

Such sad news, Simone. I feel very sorry for you but hope that these sunny days may help to lighten your mood a little. You've had a difficult time. Take care.

Helen Philipps said...

So sorry about your poor hen, Simone. You did everything you could and looked after her so well. I didn't realise the complexities of looking after hens, and that vets often aren't familiar with their health issues either.
Take care. Helen x

Louise said...

Chickens have so much character, and I can imagine you will miss your hen very much. x

Bluebell said...

Hello Simone,
I am so sorry to hear you have lost your lovely Polo. Unless you have kept hens you don't realise how much character they can have and how attached you can get to them like any other pet. As others have said all you can console yourself with is that she had a good life with you unlike so many millions of poor battery hens, Polo was one of the lucky ones. xx

Teresa said...

So sorry :-( Hurts to lose someone or something you love.

Rosie said...

Sorry to hear about Polo. What a shame a vet wouldn't help x

periwinkle said...

Big Hugs xx

sharon said...

Polo lived a life of grace by being in your care, Simone. To hold an animal as it moves from this reality to the next is a responsibility to be treasured, painful, maddening, frightening, and confusing as it may be. My heart goes out to you for your loss, dear friend.

Shell said...

So sorry to hear about Polo, it's heartbreaking to lose a pet. We lost a rabbit last week. I also hope that our local vet is more knowledgeable and understanding than yours sound if our chickens fall ill as we class them as pets.
As a blog I enjoy following, I've nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award
Shell

crafty cat corner said...

I was sad to read about Polo.
This is the problem with animals and birds etc. I hate the part when they get ill.
I keep willing my cats not to be ill, I can't bear it.
I think its because they can't tell you if they are suffering don't you?
I didn't realise that keeping chickens was so tricky until my son got some.
Love to you
Briony

Michela said...

Sending you a big hug, even if my body is feeling very weak at the moment.
xxx

Lyn said...

oh Simone, I thought about Polo every day since you posted she was ill, I am so sorry, at least you were with her at the end. I also love the thought of Hen Keeping but have heard too many problems that can occur.
So sorry and I do hope your other two live long and happy lives with you.
xxx

Judy Hartman said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Simone. But you have helped others with your advice and that is something good that came out of this. I hope your heavy heart lifts soon and that you are feeling a bit better.xx