Willing Workers, But A Sad Ending

It is with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes that I write this post.  We had a wonderful afternoon, but a very sad evening, and all shall be revealed near the end.

When I got home from work today, we decided to weed the front garden and get rid of all of the golden oxalis before it had a chance to form their new bulbs for next year.  We started off great, and for about 10 minutes, Kim, Amy, Ben, the two dogs and I were working away (well most of us anyway) filling up buckets with weeds. I had to take it easy because of the back and rested every 15 minutes, and did it on my hands and knees so to avoid any back strain.  I then had a great idea, which I read about in the Seed savers book I got for fathers day.  Why not let the chickens help us out, and they can eat and dig out all the weeds with us.  They might even reduce the bug population while they were at it.  Well, it took a little convincing with some sunflower seeds, but we got them all out into the front orchard and away they went.  Have a look at the video to see what they got up to this afternoon.  Please watch the video before reading on further.

Anyway, we worked for two hours, everyone working diligently away.  When complete, the wheelbarrow was full and the orchard looked great.  All the new fruit trees have leaves or buds ready to bust open. 

There was a couple of slackers, namely the dogs, Ben, and something was not quite right with Polly Chicken.  She looked out of sorts, even in the video she wasn’t scratching around as ferociously as the rest of the chooks and prefered to be separate from the other three hens.  Kim and I had noticed that since moulting season started in about June, she started to look out of sorts.  We knew that she was at the bottom of the pecking order, because we had seen the other hens peck her quite often and she was always the last one to the food or kitchen scraps.  We also noticed that her comb on top of her head was the smallest out of all of them, and that the most eggs we had each day for months were only three maximum.  Someone was not laying, and hadn’t for a quite a while.

So when it was time to go back to the chicken run after the weeding, we managed to get them all back to the run, and then something bad happened.   Polly Chicken collapsed and started to breath funny.  She looked like she was in a lot of pain and I rubbed her crop gently just in case she had something stuck and that seemed to do the trick after a while.  Kim even gave her some natural yoghurt as we had read that it is good for their digestion.  After about an hour of TLC, she looked like she was back to her old self again, and Kim even checked on her just before sunset and noticed that she had gone back into the coop and was eating some seed, then ducked into the hen house to go to bed.

At about 8pm, I had a wierd and funny feeling that something was wrong with Polly Chicken, so I went to check on the chooks just to make sure.  To my dismay, I found Polly limp, but still warm.  I went and got my torch to see if her pupils would dialate to see if she was just sleeping heavily, but no dialation or heart beat,  so I determined that she was dead.  She must have passed away about an hour before hand when she went to sleep.  With a tear in my eye, I told Kim who burst out crying, and so did the Ben and Amy.  We found a carboard box, and I rested her limp body in it, closed the lid up and put it back into the secure coop until morning.  Kim and Amy are going to dig a hole tomorrow and I will wrap her up in a cornstarch shopping bag, and bury her in the garden.  I know she was only a chicken, and that I am a sentimental old fool, but she was a hard worker, laid lots of yummy eggs, and we all enjoyed her company for the year that she was with us.  I am so glad we caught her on video this afternoon and that her last day was a happy one for her.

Rest in peace Polly Chicken.  Be happy, wherever you may be, and may the early bird always catch the worm.

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  1. Anonymous says

    Hi gav and family
    sorry about Polly I know what its like to lose a valued pet they are a part of the family and sadly missed Glad that you are able to work in the garden again all be it slowly

  2. says

    Polly was never “just a chicken”, she was a loved pet, a member of the “Gavin Green” family. I’m relieved she will remain within your garden.

    Much care and many gentle huggles to all, Michelle, xxx and snoring purrs from Zebbycat.

  3. says

    I’m so sorry about Polly. It’s so sad to lose one – they all have such personality. I completely understand, from working with my own chickens. My condolences.

    But I just have to question your writing. Certainly, you meant to say all will be revealed, as I can’t believe any creatures in your home are reviled.

  4. says

    I’m so sorry about your Polly. She may have “only” been a chicken, but I’m sure she was a part of your family. And losing a family member hurts….

  5. says

    yes, perhaps you are a sentimental old fool, but there’s no crime in that. Rather the opposite, I’d say. Sorry for your loss. I hate it when chickens die.

  6. says

    Hi Gav,

    Sorry to hear about Polly. Losing a friend is difficult regardless of whether they had skin, fur or feathers. I hope you have a quiet and restorative day. Meagan.

  7. says

    I’m so sorry to hear about Polly Chicken :(
    It is very sad when a loved family pet dies, it is never a trivial loss. She looks very like our Rosie we lost earlier this year, and I write with tears in my eyes.
    I am pleased you have some lovely memories and the video too.
    Peace to you all.

  8. says

    Gav, sorry to read your news today. I bet Polly Chicken knew she was loved and adored. Very short life but she had a happy one with you and your family.

    All your chickens look so happy in the garden Gav!

  9. says

    I’m sorry to hear that Gavin, I think chickens make some of the best pets – very little trouble and useful as well. At least she had a pleasant last day and died peacefully.

  10. says

    Hi Everyone. Thanks all the condolences for a well loved little chicken. We buried her in the backyard this afternoon behind the compost bins. Kim and Amy dug the hole whilst I was at work, and we had a small service today when I got home. Kim, Ben and I all said a few words of thanks for the eggs and friendship and then filled the grave. It was a little sad, but I believe that it was something we all needed to do.

    After all, as most of you have said, she was not just a chicken, but a friend and family pet.

    Thanks again for the thoughtful comments.

    Gav, Kim and family

  11. says

    Hi Gavin,
    We had a similar thing happen to a chook years ago. It turned out that it had mites caught from birds flying into their coop. I had to dunk each chook in a bucket of something to get rid of the mites which I did as gently as possible but then 2 more died as a result of the dunking, in fact as I was taking them out. So then an organic farmer told me that I had to put talc on the chooks regularly, feed them lots of garlic in their mash once a month and re-do the wire to be too small for native birds to invade the pen. We did all that and then one day while we let them all out for a run a darn fox came and ate the lot wile we were having lunch not 50 metres away. It was horrible. I haven’t had chooks since as this was too sad.
    Enjoy your site a lot.

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