Hard decisions happen…

…when you live on a farm. While our egg layers live out their lives here even long after they’ve stopped producing eggs, sometimes an animal gets very ill.

There are no chicken vets here. If you’ve read my blog for long, then you’ve seen me doctor a lot of things, injuries and illnesses alike, in all of my animals. Unfortunately there are some things that no amount of knowledge or prior experience can fix. Today was one of those times, and I had to make the hard decision to euthanize one of the young chickens.

It’s never an easy thing to do this. It’s important that people understand that this is what family farmers deal with often – hard decisions like this and the judgment that comes from others who think decisions like this are made flippantly.  It’s important, too, that people understand these are the kinds of decisions that you will be faced with if you get any kind of farm animal to keep for yourself. I’m not wanting to discourage anyone from becoming a small family farmer, but I do think you need to go into it with your eyes wide open. You need to understand there’s more to it than just the happy posts of nest boxes full of eggs and cows with long eyelashes standing in the field. Sometimes there’s sickness, and sometimes there are injuries. Sometimes you will be able to fix those things, but sometimes you will not, and you have to be prepared mentally to deal with what has to be done.

I struggled with this decision. I noticed this morning that two hens weren’t acting “right”. I made sure they had fresh clean water and a little bit of feed all to themselves. I had them separated from the other hens the rest of the day. They could go out if they wanted to, but I put up a barrier to keep the other hens from noticing and pecking at them because chickens will peck and be mean to members of the flock who are injured or ill. 

One of the hens went on outdoors and about her business, but this one got worse and worse. By this evening, she was having a horrible time breathing, couldn’t stand, and was in obvious pain. I made the call, took her far out of sight of the flock, and put her out of her misery. I couldn’t stand to see her suffer.

Goodbye. You were a truly beautiful bird, and you gave us hours of fun watching “chicken tv”.

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