Vale Ancona


Ancona was humanely euthanised by our lovely local chicken vet yesterday.

I have dreaded this day for some years now, always knowing it would arrive, and always hoping when it did, I would be able to do what needed to be done. The other half was willing to do it himself, and more than likely he would have been fine with that, growing up as a farm child he has euthanased chickens before, but I wanted to be certain there was nothing more we could do for her and it made sense to me to take her to the vet.

Ancona started to look a little off colour on Saturday. She couldn’t make it onto the roost on Saturday night which is a bad sign. I initially thought this was a result of us treating the chickens feet with olive oil for scaly leg mite late last week – Ancona hates being handled by humans and when we do have to handle her, she is resentful and reserved for several days afterwards. We hoped she might improve.

On Sunday she was eating and looked to be on the mend, at least we hoped so, but by Sunday night she was no longer able to climb the stairs into the coop. The fact she did not even protest when we picked her up told me pretty much everything I needed to know, it was not her personality at all.. :(

We took her and gave her a warm salt bath, checked to see she was not egg bound, and brought her inside for a warm night in a box by the gas heater. She was no better this morning, so first thing it was off to the vet. I knew before we left home that it was unlikely she would be coming home with me. :(

I am deeply comforted by the fact that she has had an amazing and wonderful and very full of treats life. She has laid us many eggs over the past few years and each one has been enjoyed to the maximum by us. She was not a fan of humans – her breed, Ancona, is known to be flighty – and we have respected her dislike of us, only handling her when absolutely necessary. We have loved her from a distance, as was her desire.

We loved you, Ancona. Thanks for being a great chook.

With all that said, there are 5 other chickens in the yard for whom life continues. They live minute by minute, sucking the most joy out of each and every moment, whether it is a dirt bath, finding a bug, eating a treat from the humans.. all we can do is love them while they’re here, protect them the best we can from predators, know when it is time to let them go, and remember them when they are gone.

Will we add to our flock? More than likely. Ancona was our most reliable layer and we’ll miss her eggs. The girls have huge amounts of space out there and sometimes when you bring in younger girls it perks the older girls up. I’ve sent an email off to a local chicken breeder whose chickens I have admired for some years now, and the next chicken auction is a month away if that doesn’t work out..

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Chickens, Vale Pets

5 thoughts on “Vale Ancona

  1. :(
    Sad when one has to go.
    Do you introduce new chickens gradually to the older flock or do you just put them all together and hope they get on? I’ve heard about older hens ganging up on a new one…
    My daughter only ever has three chooks at a time, I don’t think she has any at the moment, I haven’t had eggs from her for a while now.

    • Well I got a reply and it will be a chook auction.. so we’ll have to see how things go there. I have an idea what kind of chooks I would like to add to the flock but it depends on what is available on the day and what chickens speak to me when I get there. I’ve said no more game hens and I have to be strict with myself about it because I *love* the game hens.

      I’d like an Australorp, a Rhode Island Red and a White Leghorn but they can be quite large and my current girls are bantams, so unless I can find a bantams of those kinds or girls with a very sweet nature, I probably won’t go that way. One thing I learned early on is that you can get a decent idea of personality if you spend enough time observing before and during the auction, so I might drop by the night before while they are penning, talk to their owners who are usually brutally honest about their birds if you ask.. and get there super early on the morning of the auction.

      It will be a gradual thing – first of all I’ll want them to see each other from a distance but not be able to reach each other, partly for quarantine reasons, partly for getting them used to each other reasons. So they’ll be in small quarters on the grass near to the large enclosure. During this time they’ll receive dusting powder regularly, their feet will be oiled, and they’ll get a vet checkup, they’ll likely be wormed as well and if the vet feels it necessary they will receive antibiotics.

      After a couple of weeks, when I’m confident they are free of nasties like lice and mites, I’ll probably move them into the run inside the enclosure, which can be closed up so they’ll be inside but not able to reach each other. One afternoon when the weather looks like it will be fine for a couple of days, when it is getting towards 3-4pm, and I can be out there with them, I’ll let them all out to free range together, they’ll be given treats to focus on, and I can break up any nastiness.

      The next few days will involve keeping an eye on goings on, having the back door open so I can hear any goings on and go out if things are getting unpleasant. My flock is pretty laid back but bringing in new girls will change things up so I will schedule in nothing for those days, no grocery shopping, no outings, just being here near them if they need me.

      Hopefully they will put themselves up on the roost with the other girls at night but there are 2 roosts inside the run they can use if they don’t feel comfortable with the other girls just yet – and if the weather is warm sometimes the girls like to roost out there overnight anyway.

      Then again, I could go there and run into the guy who bred my English Game Hens and it will be game over, and I’ll just buy 3 more of them from him, because his chickens have been an absolute delight. :) such sweet natures, and so helpful in the garden! ;)

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