Monday, 30 May 2011

Lily my Lovely

Lily has gone.

She started to slow down a while ago, spending large parts of the day sitting quietly in the shade.  Up until a few days ago, she was still eating, munching grass, and coming for treats.  We thought she would probably just go to sleep one day and not wake up, or she'd go like Delilah - having a heart attack whilst dustbathng.

She declined suddenly a few days ago.  I started to feed her myself, offering her cat food, yoghurt, chick crumb, whatever I could tempt her with.  She'd eat when I fed her, but that was all.   She was still mobile, but a bit unsteady on her feet, and her knickers had to be cleaned each day.  She started to sleep in the nestbox, and she kept out of the way of the other girls (because she was unsteady).

Today she wouldn't eat at all, and she stood in the middle of the run and didn't move unless one of the other girls knocked her.   I shut the other girls out, and sat in the run with her for ages, watching her and trying to tempt her to eat. I didn't know what to do.

When it was time for Daisy to go, she looked like she was ready.  She wasn't eating, she was hunched up....  Lily wasn't quite like that.   I sat there, trying to decide what to do.    Was it time?    What if I asked DH to do the deed, and it wasn't really time? 

The decision was made harder because Lily is my absolutely favourite Girl.  She's the reason that I got more hens,  she was the first hen who was happy to be held.  She made chicken keeping a two way thing.

All this was going through my mind as I sat there.  And then I realised that the end result was going to be the same, whether I made the decision today or tomorrow, or three days time.   I was going to have to ask DH to do it,  and whenever that was, the decision wasn't going to be any easier.   The best that would happen is that she wouldn't decline further beforehand.  The worst that would happen would be that she would decline bit by bit, wasting away,  and that she would end up suffering before we finally did it.

And that's when I realised it should be today.   It's a lovely sunny day,  she had eaten yesterday so she wasn't starving slowly to death.  We sat on the garden swing together and I told her how much I loved her, how much she meant to me,  what she had done for me, what I would remember about her, and that she was my very favourite hen.  I confessed to her that I cared about all my hens, but that she really was special.

DH did the deed for me.

She was absolutely loopy.  Very flighty, but she liked being held by me.   She was an incredible escape artist, but she always came up to the back door to let me know she'd got out.      She had no fear,  when we first got her (along with Daisy) she kept getting into the older girls run and they were always too shocked to peck her or to retaliate.  She laid beautiful white eggs, and was such an active little girl.
I can't bring myself to go through my photos yet,  so I'm just reposting some photos of her from earlier blog entries.
Lily, aged 16 weeks

Lily, 2011, aged 2

My lovely, lovely girl. 


  1. Sorry to hear about Lily.

    Never nice to lose a precious chook.

    Martin x

  2. Really sorry to hear about Lily but you know you did the right thing for her. RIP little lady.