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Los Angeles Urban Chicken Enthusiasts Message Board › Thoughts on losing a hen . . .

Thoughts on losing a hen . . .

Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 452
No matter how well we keep our coop, death comes sooner or later. I can't believe I made it 5 years, but today was the day for our run of good luck to end.

I noticed that my black copper marans hen, Grace, was droopy a couple of days ago, but I wrote it off to molting, which she was just finishing. Yesterday, she was tail-down but still pecking and scratching, just listless and not very energetic. Work kept me from checking on her the rest of the day.

This morning I found her, laying under the roost, awake but limp and unable to stand.

I consulted with Brandi, and we agreed that the best thing was to leave her with her flockmates, and observe without taking any drastic measures. I had a feeling that whatever was wrong had advanced too quickly to be something with much hope, and frankly I think a vet visit would have just brought a faster, more stressful end to her existence.

I had to get ready to go to work. I didn't want to disturb her, but I went and stroked her, told her my thoughts, and left her to her fate. When I was about to leave, I went to check on her one last time.

I found her, still laying in the shavings in the henhouse, with three of her buddies nestled around her, in a circle, facing her and just keeping her company. The other three were quietly hanging in the run. I felt so comforted that she was with her sisters, and they were keeping vigil with her. I knew there was nothing I could do, but that was ok because she wasn't alone, and she knew she was loved.

Tonight when I found her, the others were already moving on with things. They're quiet, but they wanted out, and they wanted treats, and they seemed to have figured things out.

I wouldn't do anything differently.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I'm sending her to UC Davis for evaluation, but my gut says it was something unavoidable, the luck of the draw. It didn't look like the symptoms of any of the things we dread, and none of the other girls have any symptoms. Yet. I have my fingers crossed, and I'll hold my breath until I hear the test results.
user 80252532
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 115
sorry for your loss.
Laura B.
Group Organizer
Norco, CA
Post #: 732
So sorry Cynthia, it is always so very sad to lose our dear ones. You are right, sooner or later we do leave the planet. I am very curious on what happened...

I know she was so very lucky to have had you as the mom. I am sure she is so grateful to you.

Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 113
So very sorry to hear this, Cynthia. Five years is indeed a good long run and a sure testament to your good care. If you wouldn't mind, I'm sure the group could learn from whatever your necropsy results are to match with the symptoms you noted. I think all of us know that we have given our lost girls a much better life than they would have had under most any other conditions and that they leave this earth knowing what it was to be loved.
Stephanie H.
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 39
You are a beautiful writer Cynthia. A beautiful tribute to your girl. I am so sorry for your loss and wanted to reach out to say that you gave her a wonderful life.
Hawthorne, CA
Post #: 295
Cynthia, I am sorry for your (and your coop's) loss. No matter how long we have with them, it is never long enough. It sounds like her departure, was very humane and comforting. She was gently surrounded by her flock until her time and that is the way it should be, for them and for all - including us. Comfort and peace to you.
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 453
Thanks to all smile I will indeed share the details when I have them, but when I called UC Davis for instructions I spoke with someone there at length, and based on my description of the timeline she felt fairly confident we would find some sort of reproductive tumor. Her reasoning was that contagious illness takes a slightly longer (days or a week or so), while fatty liver will drop them in their tracks with no warning whatsoever. I did notice that Grace had stress marks in her new feathers, which would indicate that she had some lack of vitality during her molt. We'll see if tumors were the cause. I'll post again when I have results. Thanks again for your kind words. It's nice to know we can all share here and be understood.
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 457
So the final answer seems to be lymphoid leucosis. I don't know a lot about it, but I'm relieved that it doesn't seem to have a high mortality rate (edited 8-23 - thanks JJ!), and doesn't seem to be anything I could have prevented. I was also pleased to find that they did not see any evidence of parasites - so I guess, all in all, it was simply her time to go. Thanks to everyone for sympathy - here's to keeping the rest of all of our flocks healthy for as long as we can.
Cheers everyone!
Karen C.
user 83873082
Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA
Post #: 125
Thanks for sharing, Cynthia. That really was a beautiful story about her final day. You are a good chicken mommy!
user 80252532
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 116
Hi Cynthia,
unable to post privately?...I believe Lymphoid leukosis can be transmitted both vertically and horizontally.
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