Back in January ’09, we took on 3 rescued battery hens in an attempt to give them some sort of nice life after spending their first year in horrific conditions. They were in a shocking state – feathers missing, broken beaks, couldn’t flap their wings – and we were told that they’d probably be lucky to last a year.
Nearly 18 months later, despite a couple of close shaves, we still had all Skye, Nigella & Sindy running around the garden, scratching up our plants, in fine condition – until about a month or so ago when Skye started being really lethargic and uninterested in food (if you have chickens – you’ll know that’s massively unusual!). A trip to the vet showed that she had some sort of growth in her stomach that wasn’t an egg and definitely shouldn’t have been there. We had the chance to put her to sleep back then but the day we went back to go through with it, she of course perked up massively and it felt wrong to take such a drastic action while she still seemed to have some life in her.
This past weekend though, after a few weeks of freely pecking around with the others and feasting on snails and worms as usual, she started to go downhill again really rapidly and it was obvious that she wasn’t a happy hen anymore. So yesterday, we took her back to the vets for the last time. It’s actually the first time I’ve ever had a pet put to sleep and it’s not something I’m looking forward to having to do again anytime soon. Horrible. But the vets were great about it, and it was all as dignified as a chicken could ever want.
I just wanted to take advantage of having my own blog to leave some sort of Skye memorial on the interweb, so this is it. I get that some people are like ‘oh it was just a chicken’ but she wasn’t. She was an awesome chicken – the leader of our little flock – and she’ll be missed. I’m just glad that she had over a year of a nice life which is more than most battery hens get.
R.I.P. Skye! I’m sure you’re being hand-fed grapes and worms in that big hen coop in the sky as I type this! :)