Sad farewell

Our lovely littlest Araucana, Juliet, died on Saturday.  She’d had rattly breathing the week before and was a bit underweight so we’d been keeping her inside for most of last week in the warm and dosing her with some medicine to cover off the most common chicken sicknesses.  She seemed much better by Thursday so I put her back outside.  On Friday she seemed fine too, but Saturday I found her dead in the henhouse.  Chickens are very good at hiding their symptoms – being flock animals, they try to hide any malady for as long as possible so as not to get picked on by the others or kicked out and then become vulnerable to predators.  So if a chicken is symptomatic, they have likely had a problem for a while.

I felt quite sad when I found her, but in a different way to the sadness I have felt when we have killed the boys for eating.  Part of it is the unexpectedness of it – even though she had been sick, I did not realise quite how sick she was.  She had also become very friendly while she was inside last week as she had been handled a lot more than she was previously used to.  The main reason I feel sad though is because I am sure she was in pain until she died.  If she was sick enough to die, she must have been in pain.  I don’t even know exactly when she died – she was cold when I found her – so I feel sad that her death was no doubt drawn out and painful.  Even though I think it is sad that they all can’t live out long happy lives, at least I know when we kill a boy to eat the death is as quick and stress-free as possible and they have had a good life until then.

I am well aware that sickness and death is a part of chicken keeping.  Even though it is sad, I feel it is only right that I am aware of what eating eggs and meat really means.  Our society is so disconnected from the source of our food that we forget that these things do happen and some animals suffer and die even before they reach productivity (Juliet was about 20 weeks old, and not yet laying).  As sad as this experience was (and the first of many such experiences I am sure), it has only strengthened my resolve to ensure that the animals that provide our family with sustenance have as good a life and death as possible.

Juliet inside last Monday


One response to this post.

  1. […] the death of Juliet, I had a friend who keeps chickens offer me one of her Araucanas.  (This is the very same […]


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