• Doing What’s Right On A Friday Night

    by  • January 25, 2014 • City Chickens, Featured, Homesteading • 2 Comments

    I don’t know about your Friday nights but ours are usually pretty tame. We switch off cooking gourmet dinners with friends. We come home, put Lil to bed, and maybe watch a movie. I try to go to sleep early because I work at the Farmers’ Market in the morning. No big deal.

    But this week, the homestead necessities interrupted our relaxing week end plans.

    We canceled dinner with friends because Lil has been battling a cough for days on end. It comes on at night and we’re all beyond exhausted from 3 am coughing spells. We planned a quiet evening at home.

    cirrus salmon faverolle chicken

    Chores still had to be done, of course. On my afternoon visit to the chicken coop with fresh warm water, I noticed Cirrus, our Salmon Faverolle chicken, with what looked like a shell-less egg and some poop frozen to her rear. Ick. I knew there could be several causes of this but at a minimum the frozen stuff had to come off.

    I brought her inside for a soak in warm water. She didn’t resist and I added ‘bathed a chicken’ to my homesteader resume. Next came my ‘cloaca anatomy’ test. I don’t claim expert knowledge in this area, but anyone could tell Cirrus was not well back there.

    Lil helped me set her up with water, food, and bedding in a dog crate so she could dry off and we could see if she improved with a little warmth and rest. I consulted with local chicken folks and BackyardChickens.com, determining she had a prolapsed cloaca.

    Culling a Sick Hen

    culling a chicken

    I’ll spare more details but after Lil’s bedtime, Alex and I  determined that Cirrus was not well and very unlikely to heal under the circumstances. We looked at a shivering restless bird and knew our Friday night must take a dark turn.

    Alex did the deed and I heated a pot of water. If the issue was only a physical abnormality, we could make soup from her, wasting nothing from her well-lived existence. I plucked her prodigious creamy orange feathers, marveling at how different this heritage bird was from the creepy meats. Alas, the plucking revealed signs of infection. The ground frozen, we had to throw her body in the trash rather than bury her. Rest In Peace, Cirrus.

    We never want to cull a sick hen, least of all after an exhausting week. It took several hours for me to wind down from making the unfortunate decision to end an animal’s suffering. While the evening was decidedly more grueling and stinky than expected, we know we spent Friday night doing what was right.

    About

    I live to eat and eat to live, planning every meal to include as much local and seasonal abundance as possible. My favorite color is purple, my favorite vegetable is whatever is fresh and local, and my favorite drink is whatever you're pouring. Follow me @racheltayse

    http://www.harmonioushomestead.com

    2 Responses to Doing What’s Right On A Friday Night

    1. January 26, 2014 at 10:53 am

      Wow. I am such a city dweller that it would be hard for me to fathom doing the same thing. My hat is off to you. You did indeed do the right thing.

      I hope your little one if feeling better and you will soon return to a more relaxed Friday evening.

      Velva

    2. February 21, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      Hi Rachel, I enjoyed the article. It is always hard to make these decisions but they have to be made. I noticed you mentioned Cirrus was a heritage bird. Was she a Orpington?

      ~Blessings~

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