Annie died today.
Annie was 5 years old, and was a solid, rugged girl. She was a harem baby, half sister to Barbara who died about this time last year. She was a lovely independant lady, very intelligent, and I will miss her very much. She was very vocal when she came from the allotment last year, and took a while to settle in to life in the garden.
I'm lucky that she left us with one daughter, Elizabeth, who is very much like her mum in looks and temperament.
She was "not right" yesterday. It looked like she might be coming back into lay and she had the demeanour of a hen brewing a softie. I gave her some Nutridrops, and left her quietly in the coop.
Last night, she went into a different coop, the one with the Oldies, which she never does normally. I imagine the rough and tumble of the main coop, where she normally slept, was too much for her and I imagine she wanted some peace and quiet.
I checked on her first thing this morning, and I could see that she was slipping away. Her breathing was shallow, she was very still, and her head was down. I couldn't tell if she was in any pain, but it was evident that she was dying. This wasn't just a softie thing.
A bit later, I asked DH to take a look with me. We decided that it would be better if he culled her. We couldn't tell if she was in pain, but we at least if he culled her, it would be over for her. I stoked her and talked to her, to tell her how much I loved her. I told her that Elizabeth would carry on her looks and personality, and that I hoped Barbara (her half sister) would be waiting for her.
I've been expecting a few deaths from the older girls - we have some at 9 and 10 years old - but Annie going was a bit of a shock. She had some heft to her, so it wasn' a case of her being ill and wasting away, which is a relief in a way.
It's done now.