This morning when I went out to the girls with the morning sunflower seeds, Toffee as usual was still in the shed. She heard me shake the tub and she stepped down from the pop hole with a wobble. She looked really weak and unsteady on her feet and she totally ignored the seeds.
She very slowly made her way out into the run and just stood there. I needed to defrost the water dishes as they were frozen solid and I had poured warm water on top of the ice so that the girls could have a drink but I wanted to defrost them properly. I took the first one indoors and when I returned I was surprised to see that Toffee had perched up by the metal table. I was amazed that she had found the strength to get up there.
Toffee perches with Barley and Speckles
It shows how determined she is to perch with the girls that she had made it up here. I dealt with the second water dish and returned to check on her and she was perched in a bit of sun above the ladder with the three little girls. I don’t know how she found the strength to get here.
Toffee perches in a spot of sun
When I got back from my lunch deliveries Toffee was still in the same position. I think she had been here all day as there were the bright yellow spots of poop under this perch but no where else in the run.
Much later in the day Toffee hadn’t moved form this position
An hour later I checked on her again and she had gone to bed. I knew this had to be her last day. She had had no food and had spent the day on the perch then gone to bed. I realised that yesterday was her last hurrah, her swan song.
Emerald is keeping Toffee company
Emerald sits with Toffee for the last time
I called the vet and arranged to take Toffee after half past four when all the girls had gone to bed. I thought that this would be less stressful for her.
Toffee has never liked being handled but she was so poorly that she didn’t protest. I held her while she had her injection. The vet needed to find a vein in her wing so I cradled her with her wing outstretched. The vet said her veins were so delicate for her size that her blood pressure must have really dropped. She couldn’t get into a vein in the first wing so I put her down and turned her around so that she could look for a vain in her other wing.
The vet said she must be really poorly to accept this. I kept talking to her and told her what a good girl she was, as I know she is used to the sound of the my voice. The vet finally managed to get into a vein and Toffee was gone instantly.
Toffee had a mucky bottom and the vet could see her bright yellow poop. She agreed with me that this meant she most likely had a kidney problem. As usual I was crying and the vet left me holding Toffee for a few minutes before returning and wrapping her in a towel.
She probably wouldn’t have lived more than a few more days but I knew the time was right. She is my first elderly hen to go. Her breast bone was very pronounced and I think that she hadn’t been eating properly for a while. It was just that yesterday, when she perched in the sun and ate a few bits, I thought she still had some will to stay a bit longer.
Today I knew it was time. I feel so sad to lose her. She was such a character and we will miss her.
I want to give her the tribute she deserves and find some photos that capture her character so I am going to do that tomorrow. It will take some time for me to find the photos I want and tonight I felt it was more important to let everyone know that she has gone. Once again I am swimming in tears, she was a lovely girl and tomorrow, I will say goodbye properly to her.