Saturday, 3 October 2009

A Sad Day

A Very Sad thing happened yesterday.
Katie, our big brown clucking Dear Old Thing of a hen, was put to sleep.
Saw her out in our hen garden, looking all fluffed up and sorry for herself. Picked her up to check her out and she felt hot, and her tummy seemed huge.
With laden heart took her to vet.
In a box.
(Which said on the side... McChicken Nuggets.
Whoops.)
Vet had a quick look at her and told me without fuss or preamble that he thought it was kinder to put her down straight away.
Now.
Somehow it is fine to have a weep when you take in your dog or your cat, or even your child's rabbit. But taking a chicken to the vet is just ever so Slightly Silly. And I was damned if I was going to cry. Which I wanted to do. A Lot.
Especially while he did the deed to darling Katie.
Keeping my mouth tightly wedged together so that I wouldn't do a Big Girly Weep, I held Katie while he put a needle into the tiniest vein under her wing.
Kept the tears at bay while I watched her flail about in my hands, held firmly against her poor sore side. Watched her talons stretch out, over and over, while the strange spasms seemed to go on and on.
Managed to wash my hands briskly while asking the vet if I could take Katie home to bury her.
'Course you can,' he said. So kindly. Busying himself with needles and paraphernalia.
Paid.
Left.
Placed Katie and her McNuggets Box by my side as I drove her home for the last time.
And Sobbed. Loudly. Wept. Snotty, racking sobs all the way home.
Bathing Youngest later on, I knelt down by the bath. Asked him gently and tenderly how he was about Katie.
'Oh, fine,' he said. 'It's only a chicken, Mummy.'
And washed between his toes.
Oh.
But.
She wasn't to me.
And so.
Today we buried her.
In the McNuggets Box.
Appropriately.
Husband, Me, Middle Son, Daughter and Youngest.
'Are Farder,' we all said.
The other chickens watched and scratched about as we did so. Toby the cat came and had a look. Wee'd in a hole nearby, as you do at funerals.
Milly the rabbit peered through the fence.
Chewing like a Cowboy.
And in the midst of all the earth heaped up ready to put back into the Burial Hole, we found a Bright Sparkly Crystal. Huge. Just there. I picked it up and cleaned it on my jersey. And passed it to Tearful Daughter.
'Look,' I said. 'A Jewel!'
And it sparkled like her eyes.
And Cheered us all.

Here she is. Our Katie.
One Big Brown egg every day.
And a cluck as comforting as Warm Socks in winter.
Bless you, old girl.


23 comments:

wonderwoman said...

nothing wrong with having a weep! I neveer thought i'd get attached to a chicken, but i love 'our girls'! they are all such characters! so am very sorry indeed for your news.xx

Neas Nuttiness said...

A loved one, is a loved one!
Cry as along as you need to...and know that Katie is at Rainbow Bridge - where she will spend her days, in poultry paradise...till you meet again.

PS. Put some bricks over her grave. About 2 or three days, after by beloved kitty was buried, I heard that dogs going wild, after I let them out in the yard. They were digging up the cat. It wasn't funny then:-(

DJan said...

It's our propensity to get attached to our creatures, great (beautiful dog) and small (teeny gerbil) but they are all our partners in life, aren't they? And when they must go, it is such a big hole, no matter who. I realized today that I either grieve or block myself from caring, and that's way worse...

Alix said...

God bless Katie's soul. I COMPLETELY understand your love for and attachment to her. If you're interested and have time... copy and paste the link below to the story of my lovely duck LuLu. Dare you not to cry.

http://casahice.blogspot.com/search?q=LuLu

PS: Crying is appropriate, when we lose any loved one... even chickens.

Troy said...

A very sad tale. Much sadder in fact than when I took our labrador to the vet. He too told me solemnly that he would have to put him down. Of course I bit my lip and asked him why. The reason? He was too heavy!

Mud in the City said...

Sweetheart - it would be most unnatural and downright hardhearted NOT to ant to cry when a creature we love and care for leaves us! But it was the right thing to do.
May Katie find all the grubs and worms in paradise.
xx

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Oooooh. I'm so sorry. A loved one is a loved one. I am truly sorry for your loss.

With such passion you write.

"Are Farder"

I'm so glad I've found you.

Robynn's Ravings said...

How can I laugh and cry in the same post and absolutely simultaneously? We have had pet chickens and they become very dear. So sorry you had to say goodbye to such a good and faithful friend who fed you so well and clucked her comforts to you. :(

Lakeland Jo said...

I love hens. Not surprised you were sad

Liz said...

We all get attached to animals, whatever they are.

My friend Judy's sister had a pet hen she was so attached to that she insisted on taking it with her when she and Judy went to visit their other sister in Warrington. Judy had to have the hen on her lap in a box all the way there and they stopped twice for the hen to stretch her legs!

geraldgee said...

Once stayed on a farm with my brothers when a dog got in with the chickens and did serious damage. my oldest brother,all of 14 said the kindest thing to do would be to wring the necks of the worst hurt so he did the deed.When the farmer came back from the fields we explained all. He just grunted,examined the chickens then put their necks straight and off they ran.

DJ Kirkby said...

Awwwwww you made me well up with tears and I didn't even know her!

family affairs said...

How sad. Sorry to hear about her. Kids can be so matter of fact can't they? L x

Rebel Mother said...

Ah, poor little hen

Let it all out and have a good blub, she was part of the family afterall.

RMxx

Corey Schwartz said...

Well, I cried watching Hotel for Dogs, so you can certainly have a cry over your own hen.

Rest in Peace, Katie.

Ladybird World Mother said...

Thank you all for such kind comments and kind thoughts! All, as I said in post, a bit silly to weep over a chicken, when I probably have a dead one in my fridge once in a while... but Katie was rather lovely.
Have put bricks over her grave, NN. Thanks for that tip! And Alix... am off over now to see your link!
XXX to you all. You've cheered me enormously. xx

Janna Qualman said...

Ladybird, I'm so sorry. No matter she was a chicken, we can connect with and love anything, living or not.

I think the McNuggets box was perhaps a blessing in disguise, a laugh amid the sorrow. *hugs*

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Aaah. Sniff! Sniff!

Ladybird World Mother said...

JQ - indeed I think that box was put there for a purpose! Poor old Katie... chicken run still looks bare without her. Thanks for lovely words!xx
Hadriana - thank you!! So silly... I must get a grip, but these hens are just so sweet! xx

elizabethm said...

As another chicken lover I relate totally. I have tried not naming the present ones in the hopes of not getting so attached but there is a little white Wyandotte that I am secretly very fond of!

Tattie Weasle said...

It's alright about crying about chickens - I do. Even if it is me who has to wring their necks. Bless Katie - a good egg.

Pam said...

Oh how sad. I would have sobbed too and think you are very brave taking her to the vets on your own.

grumpyoldwoman said...

We lost our lovely Barbie (a black Dorking) recently - she somehow fell in the pond and drowned. MM buried her so that I didnt have to see her bedraggled body - didnt stop me from crying though. Strangely blogging about it helped. Big hug to you from me x