Every time we lose a flock member due to unknown health related issues it hits me hard. We purchased or hatched these birds, be it for pets or for food, and we treat them with love, respect, and kindness, but more importantly humanely. We worry if they are to hot, to cold, if they are truly receiving the best life we can give them.
We cuddle with them as chicks or ducklings, allow our children to help in raising them, we enjoy their antics as the frolic around the property or coop, and nothing is as entertaining as watching chicks dirt bath for the first time. These are the joys of keeping poultry.
But with joy also comes sadness, that is an inevitable situation with keeping livestock.
When we lose poultry to a predator, it brings a flood of a different type of emotions ~ sadness, frustration, anger. There is ALMOST an understanding that nature is taking in course in the circle of life, this is something you can control. We grab whatever tools we will need and take care of the issue that caused your flock to become prey to a predator. Losing a flock member is a different of emotion because the situation can be controlled.
When we lose one to an illness, especially if it is suddenly, it puts me into a tailspin; I begin to go over the last few days, questioning how the bird was acting, did she eat, was she drinking, what did her poop look like, had she been laying? The questions do not stop coming for a few days.
Then there are the ones that have prolong illnesses, the ones you spend days or even weeks trying to nurse back to health. Those are the ones that make your heart sad, your stomach queasy and twisted, your head hurt because you are trying EVERYTHING in your control to make them better. You move them to a large kennel in your home, keeping them warm, whispering words of encouragement, provide multiple options of food to motivate them to eat, boost them with natural remedies or medicines to cure them, you even hush your children because to much noise may make her nervous. But in the end, many of them do not make it and along comes the question, “what if…”.
Many have asked if we have ever performed an necropsy on any poultry that has passed under our care, and the answer is no. For my farm guy and myself, the science of why does not out way our feelings. See, we have a strong belief that if the good Lord decided to take it then it was meant to be taken, and opening a bird doesn’t change the outcome. However, if our flock were to come down with an issue and multiple birds displayed the same or similar signs, then it would be our responsibility to protect the others by going to any length possible to discover the issue.
A Farm Guy lays them to rest, I ask that he buries the ones that have passed somewhere on the property, I don’t want to know where, I am happy that they are treated with every bit of respect even when they have passed or been put down. I am a farm girl in the making, but I don’t know if I will ever toughen up to a loss of one of our farm animals, and to some degree I don’t think many do. I think the blow of the loss softens over the years, but I don’t think it will ever stop affecting me.
We continue to provide the best animal husbandry as possible, and we leave everything else to higher hands.
Dedicated to Baby Girl one of our first 15 hens, it was a good 4 years