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I am a 50+ yr old stay at home wife of a scientist/Military man.  I raise chickens for eggs, rescue dogs & cats & spoil them all.  I am a silver/metal smith & stained glass artist.  I, at one time was an secondary art teacher & Social Studies teacher.  I am sorta a eclectic earth mother who recycles everything I can get my hands on.  Enjoy working with power tools & even built my own 10ft by 6ft chicken coop.  am pretty much interested in learning everything I can thur books, magazines & friends. I enjoy veggie gardening & doing gardens just for the chickens. I also sew & love making pioneer style comfortable clothes for myself & adding vintage lace when I can find it. I am pretty easygoing, but need my coffee first before I am ready to face the world & day.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Saying goodbye to another hen & other musings



Good afternoon everyone!

The last few weeks have been a bit on the emotional side with the putting done 2 of my hens.

We had a lot of rain then ice, then more rain in the beginning of December up here in Massachusetts, so it confused my kids so one day they are huddled in the coop, next day its hot & wet They, after a few nice days were back in the coop & not digging & eating up grit so they bound up.  I try to keep grit out but most of the time they never eat it so I learned to put it in with the feed to hopefully help.  this time between all of them molting, dealing with changes in the weather, my oldest Bowzer, who I have had since 2009 as a wee chick went down hill fast & I helped her by chloroforming her 2 days after she came to stay in the house. 

Then Indora, my youngest who was born two Septembers ago started showing signs of gizzard bound so in she came.  She was in the house for 3 weeks eating but not gaining weigh nor having normal types of poo.  She really went to town on the grass & for those 3 weeks was expelling the grass but by this last Monday she could no longer stand so I kept her with me.  She quit eating & drinking Monday so I thought she would die by that night but she hung on.  I slept in the recliner & had her bundled up on my chest near my neck.  Ever so often during the night she would wake up & rub against my neck before going back to sleep. 

I knew she was close as her skin was white & though she wasn't struggling she was breathing through her mouth the next afternoon. 
So I decided she didn't have to suffer, so got out the chloroform & slowly brought it towards her beak.  I learned if you do it slowly they don't react or panic since its just a mild odor at first & doesn't burn or shock them.  By the time it was to her beak she was asleep & went very calmly with no fear while I talked to her, telling her she was such a good & pretty girl.

I have been doing this long enough now to help my kids go over to the big chicken coop in the sky that I no longer wait until they are struggling to breathe.  At first, I so hated doing it, I would wait until the last minute to help them that they really were suffering & I was being selfish by waiting.  I didn't want them to go so I delayed the end & caused them to be so afraid in the end.  that was not what I wanted so I am glad I now understand that my helping earlier is not cruel or selfish but they get to go before the pain & panic kicks in.  There is nothing so sad as watching a chicken who seems to understand its dying & you do nothing. 

I have never liked cruelty for the sake of keeping an animal alive, just because I am not ready to let go, but I am guilty of that in the past.

I know that the move from the farm was hard on them & they all began molting by November, quit laying eggs & just tried to adjust to being back home after a year.  The odd weather added to all the stress they & their bodies were going through so I am not shocked that some got sick.  I just wish I could have saved them.

Each chicken I raise becomes a very special animal for me, whether they live only a few months or years.  I still feel the same type of pain when they go.  People who don't raise chickens don't understand the attachment I have because they don't see them as a pet like a dog or cat.  But for me, they are just as important & special as any dog or cat that I have had & them had to put down.

Actually I have spent more time with my chickens than most pets that I have had.  Most of the dogs & cats I have had all want to be left alone until they decide they want attention.  Well, my kids seem to want attention all the time, so I spend a lot of time talking to them or picking them up & carrying them around.

I have 3 cats in the house & 2 of them never want my attention unless its to fill the food bowl & the other yells at me cause she wants in the bathroom where its warm.  They don't want to be petted or loved by me like the kids do.

We finally got our 1st big snow this last weekend of about 8 inches so I got to go out & shovel the walkway to the shop.  I love this time of the year & enjoy going out & tending to the snow.  Now the kids refuse to come out of the shop & hang out in there & the coop while there is snow on the ground.

 I love how white & pure the yard looks with all the snow, I love the crisp air that smells so clean, I love how the trees stand there holding up all the snow on its branches.  I also like since I never have to go anywhere I can take my time clearing the snow from the walkways & listen to the birds in the trees in the woods behind our property.


With money so tight this holiday, we aren't doing any gifts to family & friends but for once I don't mind.  Thank goodness everyone understands so I don't feel guilt like I normally would.  Our unemployment ends at the end of the month but Thomas was able to get a part time job with UPS until the end of December to help out a bit.  Now you have followed my blog you know I don't mind having no money so I am not worried.  Also being on the farm for a year I also know if we go without electricity/utilities we will survive.  Plus having 2 cords of wood for our stove means we will have heat & a way to cook so that is good to know.  But no matter what we will always make it since this is not the 1st time in our life together things have gotten very tough money wise.

I am just thankful I am older & have no children at home, then I would worry about providing for them.  I know this time of year lots of families go through harder times than what I go through.  I heard that over 300,000 were laid off just this last week & wonder how they will make it when jobs are so far & few.  Thomas has been looking for work since he got back from Afghanistan in 2011 & this UPS part time job is the 1st he's had & he has a college education plus military experience.  I can't image ones who are just normal everyday people who are battling daily just to find any job to support their families.  I just hope all that are out there struggling find what they need to have a better life for themselves & their families.

 

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