Lesson 766 – She’s just a chicken

Some are going to read this and say, what’s the big deal? She’s just a chicken.

Violet quietly died last night around 7:30pm. There had been signs of hope throughout the day but when she stopped eating, when fluids started coming out of her beak, when she went the entire day without pooping, I knew that things were not good.

Fortunately I had time yesterday to hold her, swaddled in my sweatshirt, in the sunshine.

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I had time to apologize, to tell her that I had thought a week in the cage was enough for the flock, that I thought she was old enough to be introduced to the others.

And that I never thought she’d be able to duck into a cinder block and then be stuck exposing her entire raw backside to the rest of the flock.

Who acted like sharks around bait.

For all that, I apologized to my sweet little Violet, who just the day before had run to hide between my legs because she knew I would protect her. Who just the day before, had caused a gruff-older neighbor to comment on how nice she was and who got him to get down on the ground to play with her.

As chicken owners, we all have our favorites, the ones with the personality, the ones who jump into our laps or come running to us when they see us enter the backyard. These are the ones that sneak into our hearts.

Violet was a favorite. She was my baby. She was as much a member of our indoor flock as she was our outdoor one.

And I have to tell you, this one hurts. Who knew a chicken could rip a hole right through that very same heart she had managed to sneak into?

Violet died a horrible death and I am partly to blame.

And so I apologized over and over, while I stroked her back. My sweet, little Violet.

Her injuries were too severe, insurmountable. Her entire backside was literally ripped open and while I tried antibiotics and electrolytes, while I tried putting water on her beak to get her interested in drinking, and warm washings, in the end, she could not overcome such a serious insult. Violet took her last breath wrapped up in a cozy towel nest, surrounded by the kids who loved her just as much as I did.

This morning, Violet is gone. We’ve buried her in the woods facing our property. The kids went to school and life goes on, but man, I’m going to miss that little one.

Some are going to say, what’s the big deal, she’s just a chicken.

But oh, what a chicken our Violet was.

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***
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two. 

67 Comments

Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, Charlie, Life Lessons, Personal, The Family, Uncategorized

67 responses to “Lesson 766 – She’s just a chicken

  1. People who say, She’s just a chicken” do not understand the bond that grows when you raise a baby, regardless what form of life it is. You have my sympathies. I think anyone who follows your blog and FB posts is sharing in the tears. I know I am. RIP little Violet. We all know how special you were. And Wendy, you did everything right…who could have known? ♥

  2. Vanessa

    I am so sorry to hear about violet, she was part of your family and I hope with time you can move on, and you are not o blame for her death it was just a bad decision that we have all paid a heavy price as one time or another,…again I am sorry..

  3. Jenn

    I’m so sorry.😦 I was thinking about her last night & wondering how she was doing.

    I hate hearing, “Its just a chicken.” To a stranger, the same could be said for the dog at the end of the speakers leash, the cat on their lap or the horse in their barn. If a creature, any creature, is loved and cared for and their loss brings pain to those who knew them, there is no “its just a…” about it.

    I’m sorry for your loss, Wendy.

  4. Barb

    Oh, Wendy, my heart breaks for you and Violet. So sad that she had such trauma, but happy that she was tended lovingly me her “mama”. Mixing my tears with yours..RIP Violet

  5. Wendy. A gentle hug for you. I’m cryin’ too.

  6. so sorry for your loss, she may have been just a chicken, but she was still a pet, and if when it was our turn to go we could all go being held, comforted and loved, as you did for Violet we could be so lucky.

  7. I am so sorry for your loss and screw those who say she is just a chicken. I love my chickens just as much as I do my cats and dogs. I have bonds with each and everyone as well. I have lost one already and it broke my heart – i brought it to the vet and everything and all my family thought I was nuts. I also had to rehome one of my roosters and that hurt as well.
    I feel for you and I am sending u hugs.

  8. Kristin

    Oh Wendy. I am grieving for you and with you….the “only a chicken” group will never understand but the ones who know Violet was your baby are sending you love and understanding….may you find peace in the coming days…..

  9. Annette

    I boo-hoo’d like a baby over my favorite chicken, Ruby, when she was killed by a predator while we were on vacation. She followed my like a dog and would jump up into my lap. Sorry for your loss- I get it!!

  10. Leanne A

    I’m so sorry for Violet and for you. Nature can seem cruel at times and so unfair. I’m sure at some level she knew you were sorry for what happened to her and I have to believe that they can forgive. We’ve all made mistakes that hurt someone. Learn what you can from this and love again.

  11. LucyBouv

    So sorry for your loss. Chickens really are such special creatures.

  12. Mel

    I’m so sorry Wendy. Don’t shoulder all the responsibility. Chickens can be mysterious creatures, you did what you thought proper, no fault can be given for that. Violet touched a lot of lives though your blog, for “just a chicken” I’d say she’s practically famous.

  13. Oh, you made me cry! Poor, poor Violet. It hits especially hard for me because we have a poor little girl being bullied as well, and I’m trying to figure out how to fix it all. Your story about Violet’s attack is making me think a lot harder on my decision, so maybe … maybe Violet’s death will help my little Granny in the end. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  14. Erika Keshelya

    i dont have chickens (but would love them) but i do have sheep and ponies (and kids) i had a tear in my eye reading this as i understand how much it hurts, especially if you feel somehow responsible (our ewe died after being trampled by a pony and id suggested they shouldnt be together but didnt press the issue with hubby :0( . Stay strong, she had a wonderful happy life by the sounds of it, something we can all be hopeful for, chicken or otherwise.

  15. I am so sorry for your loss. I was so surprised when we had a cockatiel and how intelligent, sociable, funny and engaging. We had a grand adventure when we took her cage and all to Chicago for a holiday. Wendy don’t beat yourself up over this. You are a teacher, let us all discover how to move vulnerable chicks into the larger world, both in the coop and in the home.

  16. I’m so sorry. I know that feeling of loss. We lost our Rosie last fall, I accidentally left her out in the run. She was our sweetest girl, and I miss her today. RIP sweet Violet.

  17. I’m so sorry Wendy. Just a chicken? Maybe if you bought it plucked and and ready for the crock pot. Every one of my birds has a different personality. I have some ladies that won’t be laying much longer, but I will not be replacing them because of their personalities. Big beautiful marans ladies that wobble side to side running when they hear my back door open. I’m sorry for your pain. I know it too well myself. I’m sorry for your feelings of guilt, I know those too. Everyday we learn, and some lessons are harder than others. Learning the hard way doesn’t always make us wrong, it just means that the answer is hardly ever the same each time. RIP Violet.

  18. I’m so sorry — Apparently Violet was put on earth to provide a lesson. She certainly was not just a chicken! Just reading all of these posts shows that all of us have learned from your/her teachings. I just wish it didn’t hurt so bad. I know I love my ‘girls’ (and the boy, too). Hugs for you today……… Please don’t doubt the fact that you are a great chicken ‘mom’!

  19. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27 I wish you all peace of heart. Violet is running free at his side. Your memories of her love for you will carry you through.

  20. I have lost many chickens over the years but like you, I grieve for some of my favorites although none of them were easy to bury.

  21. Jeannette Olton

    Poor little Violet. I know the trials of being a chicken tender😉 This morning at 4 am I was out in my pj’s because I thought I heard a chicken squawk and was afraid one of my girls got left out accidently. It was a false alarm but it is an example of how much our feathered charges mean to us. Don’t beat yourself up…she knew you loved her and that’s what matters.

  22. Mary Ellen Rice

    I had a similar experience last year. One of my bantam hens hatched nine little babies. Of course, I played with them all, but one little gray chicken, would run up to me each time she saw me. She grew to be a beautiful little pullet, who acted like a little princess. So that was her name. When the chicks were about 12 weeks old, three of them got sick. Of course, Princess was one of them. I doctored them all, but Princess didn’t make it. I know your pain, and I am sorry.

  23. Alan Kemp

    I’m so sorry for your loss, and I feel your pain.
    I try to never forget that chickens are so vulnerable to so many things, including each other, but I’ve learned that from so many horrible experiences. It always hurts me to lose one, no matter how it happens, and my heart will never harden enough to shrug it off.
    Even if I can protect them from repeat occurrences, sooner or later I always come up short. Last year, for instance, I had a special cage to protect my new chicks from the old hens. One day my wife went into the back yard just in time to see a hawk pulling one out through the chicken wire!😥

  24. Hugs to you, Wendy. Violet was not just a chicken, she was a member of your family, and of course this is breaking your heart. You love your other chickens, too, and you didn’t know they’d behave like that. “Forgiveness is the fragrance of the violet which still clings fast to the heel that crushed it.” ~ George Roemisch

  25. Cindy

    Wendy, many HUGS and Love being sent your way. We have lost a few of our favorites along the way. Then take the lessons learned and adjust for the next time around when introducing them to the others. You are a Great chicken Mom and Violet truely knew you were hers.

  26. I’m so sorry for your loss. As another chicken mom, I feel your pain. My heart is breaking for you. {hugs} and prayers for healing your broken heart.

  27. Im so sorry for your loss, I just want to cry with you, sounds like she was a wonderful chicky baby!! Sorry again.

  28. Blessings to you and RIP Violet … i lost my chicken Braveheart a few months back and can completely relate. Ignore those who say “Its just a chicken” … they have no idea. Once you love any animal be it chicken, dog, sheep .. they are never “just that” again … they become part of you, and when they pass that part of you passes too … i will never be the same for loving and losing my Braveheart. I know i will never see any chicken as “Just a chicken” again.

  29. After yesterdays post, I was praying for her recovery. I am so sorry. I wish I had the words to make your ache lessen. Love is love whether for your children or your animals. Violet was lucky to have you!!

  30. Melissa

    I’m so sorry for you and violet. Hugs!

  31. Brenda Messer

    Wendy, so sorry for your heartbreak. My thoughts and my tears echo all the comments I have read so far. Violet had an extraordinary mom; one who openly shares her victories and her struggles, and for that we are all learn so much, and are extraordinarily grateful. Never doubt ur heart!

  32. Candice

    My tears are flowing for you and Violet. At least you had each other for a little while. RIP Violet.

  33. Candace

    So sorry. Please don’t be too hard on yourself.

  34. Donna McGlasson

    So very sorry about Violet. We who love chickens understand your heartbreak and feel it with you. Hugging you and know that Violet waits at the Rainbow Bridge for you. Prayers for you & your family. RIP pretty Violet.

  35. I am so sorry for Your loss. It has brought tears to my eyes,

  36. I am so sorry for Violet’s loss.. She was no more “just a chicken” than your children are “just kids”.. Everything is relative on how much you care for it, WHATEVER it is. I am still integrating my 2 little ones in after over a month. We have all heard of the dreaded “pecking order”, but who would have thought that it would be that severe? Please forgive yourself….

  37. Debi

    Oh, Wendy, I’m wiping tears as I write this. I completely empathize with you. I once had a favorite chicken who was being terribly abused by a rooster–he might have killed her. So I penned her up in a corner with my beehive. For months they tolerated her without incidence. But then one day… I wept more bitterly for her death than I did for my mother who died only a couple of years before. How she died because of my foolish notion that she would be ok, still pains me. I’m not saying you will never get over it, but it might be a long time. As I said before, you live, you learn. Don’t beat yourself up, but allow yourself to grieve. Meanwhile, I will be praying for you to be healed of this trauma. (And now I gotta soak in the Light of Jesus since I’m over here reliving my own trauma!) Be blessed and may the Lord restore your peace as you continue in your days.

  38. Brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry for your loss.

  39. Cathy

    I am so sorry for your loss. How could you have known this would happen? You aren’t all powerful. Try to remember the good times you had with Violet and believe you will see her again. I’m convinced that the creator that bestowed the love and beauty of animals cherishes them as much as we do.

  40. Oh Wendy! I’m So very, very sorry for your loss!! We lost a chick because we turned our backs for a few seconds and our husky, a natural born predator, crashed through the screen on top of their brooder box and broke her neck. We felt so horrible, because we were to blame. Our dog was just following her instincts and we never should have put either one of them (dog or chick) in that situation. All that to say, I can really relate. But I imagine Violet’s death is much harder because she was so integrated into your daily family life. Peace be with you my friend. Will be thinking about you and remembering Violet fondly!

  41. Karen W

    Oh Wendy…so sorry for your loss. Violet was more than a chicken…she was one of your flock, and I’m sure she will be missed.

  42. I used to feel ridiculous for being sad when one of my chickens passed away, but I am not ashamed anymore to let the world know how bad I hurt when I lose one. They aren’t “just chickens” and anyone who says that has obviously never raised chickens of their own. I had no way of knowing before I started keeping chickens how much I would fall in love with them. They really do sneak into your heart and the day you lose one is the worst day. I have had some very sad losses so I really feel for you right now. Just know that there are other people out there who understand and know what you are going through. Our thoughts are with you!

  43. Min

    we nursed our Grace inside for months and the pain when she died was unbearable. know that you did all you could do for Violet – the time she had with you was the best life a chicken could have. rest in peace – and may the chicken-sized hole in your heart heal with the memories of her sweetness.

  44. Melanie Dunn

    My heart ached for you when I read this. I am so sorry about Violet.

  45. Ron

    So sorry for your loss. All life is precious.

  46. So sorry about Violet. I’m sure she knows how much you loved her. Please don’t be hard on yourself. You were a caring chicken mom. We all try our best but sometimes things just go wrong. 😦

  47. mog

    I am sorry sorry for your loss. Reading about Violet’s sad end has me crying.

  48. Wendy,

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My heart goes out to you and your family. (((((hug))))

    Sending healing wishes your way,

    Lisa

    http://www.twitter.com/lablady

  49. I have a flock of chickens, they all have names, they all are precious to me, even Mr. Slate the rooster, whose goal it is in life to scare the bejebbers out of me. They depend on me for food, shelter, water, and care. But they also need and desire the love and interaction we give. When something happens to one of them it breaks my heart. My heart goes out to you, please don’t blame yourself in any way. You never dreamed something like this would have happened, life is hard on the farm at times and bad things happen. You loved little Violet while she was with you and that is a sweet and wonderful thing. Take care.

  50. Pam V.

    My heart is heavy for you tonight. Yes people are going to say ” it’s just a chicken”…. But they don’t realize what attachments the chicks form with us, and the personalities they have . yeah yeah I know…. Their just chickens….
    But I sure do enjoy talking with mine and them talking back to me and them following me every step, and running to me when they see me. I think anyone that reads your post concerning Violet -is hurting with you.😦

  51. quip1320

    I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. There’s no such thing as just a chicken, just a cat, just an anything. Each and every member of this world is precious and deserves to be loved. Violet was loved and she will be so sorrowfully missed.

  52. Wendy, I’m so sorry for poor little Violet and for your heart too. I’ll write to you later and tell you more but at this moment I’m going outside to bury my favorite bird too. She was killed during the night by some marauders who got into our pen and killed 14….2 weeks before 17 had been killed. I’m sick with grief for 31 birds killed, 2 more black copper marans roosters who will probably still die from their wounds and my wonderful girl, Cuckoo, my cuckoo marans hen, who I loved more than all the other birds put together, is waiting outside for me to bury her tonight.
    Hugs Wendy, you and I are suffering together and little angel hens Violet and Cuckoo are suffering no more…..<3

  53. robbie

    So very sorry. You sure had me crying. They are not “just a chicken” to me but I certainly know plenty of people who think like that…😦

  54. Crazy Chicken Lady

    I grieve with you over Violet. Hard lesson learned. I’ve lost so many chickens to attacks from predators and other chickens. Just when I think I’ve got all the bases covered, something else comes up–last week a hawk attacked and killed a *full-grown* hen because it was hungry because of the long winter. Fortunately it wasn’t one of the pets. For the raccoons, I live-trap them and shoot them. Now I’m building movable shelters to keep the rest of the chickens safe from attacks from the sky.

    People have this idea that chickens are stupid and sneer at any idea that there can be a mutual affection between chicken and chicken-keeper. They don’t know how smart they are and that they have their own well-ordered society when they’re not stuffed into cages for egg-laying or broiler houses for meat. They can’t appreciate how roosters find food and call their hens over and let them eat first. They don’t know how complicated chicken language is. And so they say, “just a chicken.” Ignore them, they’re not worth talking to.

  55. That’s harsh. Sorry to hear this sad story. We can’t always predict how these things are going to turn out. RIP Violet.

  56. Debbi

    I am heart sick !!! I grieve with you and your children…I so enjoyed getting to know your little Violet through your posts….will miss her!

  57. trying to type through tears, i am sorry this happened. i was enjoying the tale of Violet, and i am so sorry for your loss. hopefully chickens get to go to the Rainbow Bridge. (((hugs)))

  58. Patty mayle

    I had 2 black chochin bantys. I loved them, they were so sweet and gentle. I was heartbroken when they died. I know how you feel. BUT, you were there for your sweet litte Violet, and you gave her love and comfort. That accounts for a lot.

  59. Jennifer W

    Never just a chicken, never just a cat, never just a pet of any kind. They are a part of our hearts and when we feel we failed them it hurts even more. I lost my Siamese and felt like I failed her by not recognizing the signs.. Hurt for months. If I could I would hug you thru the computer i would. Total strangers who love and felt the pain of loss. It took me months to adjust,and I still miss her and apologize to the wind, I love you so much, I am soo sorry, please forgive me.. And hopefully soon I will forgive myself.

    You are not alone. Lots of hugs!

  60. christine dollar

    Sending love. We chicken people are like family too. No one understands the love of chickens until you are loved by a chicken. May you take comfort knowing she was loved, and that we understand.
    Bless you.❤
    Christine

  61. Sarah

    So sorry to hear of the loss of your sweet Violet. They are never just chickens they are still loved and cared for.

  62. why o why did i have to read this post, broke my heart for you and Violet. DON”T we always blame ourself. its what a mom does.

  63. I am sorry about your loss of a chicken. We have lost chickens as well.

  64. Mog

    I had commented above when I first read about your loss and only a few days later we very suddenly lost our favorite lap chook.

    Her appearance was exceptionally healthy – she was the glossiest and healthiest looking of our four girls, but she had a tumour under her wing that we were completely unaware of despite daily handling.

    We think somehow she knocked it and it started bleeding because on Saturday morning I found her covered in blood and discovered the mass and a tiny but continuously bleeding tear. We did everything we could but she had lost far too much blood to recover, and died on Saturday afternoon, leaving us heartbroken and wondering, how do such small creatures leave such big holes in our lives?

    • Wendy Thomas

      Mog,

      I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. Really, my heart is heavy.

      I get it, I know it’s crazy but I still tear up (in fact I did today) when I think about Violet. Death is one thing, guilt is another.

      Know that your chicken was well cared for and loved during the time you had her.

      She was not just a chicken.

      Wendy

  65. Mog

    Thank you Wendy,

  66. Kayla

    I had 2 Barred, 2 Red, and 1 Cornish on 5/24,4 huge dogs destroyed our fence and by the time we heard what was going on it was too late. Only chicken that was one barred which was the top hen(had no rooster). My husband and I ARE heartbroken. Now we have hot wire fence at night now. Now we have 3 RIR, 2 BSL, 3EE, hopefully they will survive. I do feel your pain, it hurts they are family not just a bird!!!!

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