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..