Emerald has gone

I have been struggling to write this post as it’s been so upsetting. Yesterday morning when the girls came out of the chicken shed Emerald stayed put. I thought it best to leave her be. There was a green splodge below her. She has been doing liquid green poops which I knew meant that something was badly wrong inside her.

Emerald stayed in the chicken shed

I kept checking in on her and just before nine o’clock I found her collapsed just inside the pop hole. The chicken shed had become too hot for her and she had obviously tried to leave. I picked her up and put her in the shade of the wooden shelter. I gave her a chopped grape but it was painstaking waiting for her to very slowly take a few bits.

I rang the vet to make an appointment to have her put to sleep. I couldn’t let her suffer any more. I got an appointment for three o’clock.

When I returned at lunch time after I had done my deliveries I went to check on her. I felt so sorry for her. She had made it out of the shelter and was between two dust bathing girls. They had absolutely covered her in dust and she didn’t have the strength to shake it off. She looked so sad. I set her down on the patio area and gently brushed the dust off of her with my hands. I then put her back in the shelter and offered her the chopped grape once more. She only had a couple of bits and refused to have any water.

I explained to the vet that Emerald was elderly, was moulting and had been showered with dust by her flock mates.  I thought that she would think I had her in terrible condition.

She was very good and did a thorough examination of Emerald. She said that her heart was actually strong but that she was struggling with her breathing. She felt her all over and said that she had a large, hard, lump, behind her abdomen. She asked when she had last laid and I said at the end of  May, when she started moulting, which was usual for her.

The vet said that it felt like a tumour and would be pressing against her organs which would have weakened her. She agreed that Emerald needed to be put to sleep and said she would look after her, that it would be quick and painless.

I struggled to leave her and stroked her for a last time as the tears started to pour. I felt better about it being a tumour because I knew that there was nothing I could have done for her and I have read that elderly hens often have tumours at the end of their life.

I felt glad that I had managed to get her to old age and yet I still felt more upset than any other girl I’ve lost. She has been my all time favourite for such a long time. She was so beautiful and had such a lovely nature. I will miss her so much.

At bedtime I expected Speckles to go into the chicken shed without Emerald being there but instead she was outside on their favourite perch. I felt that she was waiting for Emerald. I lifted her down and steered her towards the chicken shed. The chicks had gone in and were in their usual heap in the corner so I lifted them to the perch.

I put the chicks on their perch

To my surprise Speckles perched with Cinnamon and Dandelion. She has never done this before. It seemed like she didn’t want to perch alone.

Speckles perches with the little girls

I swept the patio area and then checked in again and she was still next to the little girls. The perch width is smaller so probably less comfortable for Speckles but she clearly didn’t want to be alone so I left her there.

I will be doing a tribute to my lovely Emerald but it may take me a few days. I have a lot more years of photos to look through for her and she deserves a proper send off.

I said to my mum (on the phone) and Sophie (by e-mail) that writing these posts is actually very difficult to do because it makes me cry all over again and I have to write through a blur of tears and with a lump in my throat but I owe it to her memory to do this.

Goodbye my lovely Emerald.

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16 Responses to Emerald has gone

  1. marion.pharo says:

    I was in tears reading your post, I know how much all your girls mean to you,
    they are your very loved pets.I am thinking of you, you have had a lot of sadnesss
    this year.

    • Carol says:

      Thank you mum. I know you are thinking of me.

      • Carol says:

        Thank you Jenny and I am sorry to hear that you too have just been through this. When I cried at the vets a lady with a cat came and gave me a hug. I said that my husband says I am too soft to have pets and she said that is exactly why we should have pets, because we care and we do our best for them. I was touched by the kindness of a stranger. She gave me another hug and asked if I would be okay to drive home and if my husband was at home. I assured her yes to both those things. xx

  2. Jenny says:

    Carol I’m so, so, sorry to hear this. Having gone though exactly the same thing yesterday I know the feeling of loss and sadness that you have. Not just at losing her but for Speckles losing her mate too. It’s hard to take and it makes you wonder if life wouldn’t be easier without pets to get attached to. She had the best life a chicken could have had though. Xx

  3. Sophie says:

    So sad – she was such a gentle girl.

    Big hug again xx

  4. Tree says:

    So sad for you

  5. Carol says:

    I am so sorry. Emerald has always been one of my favorites. She seemed to have such a sweet personality. She had the best life thanks to you. How old was she? My girls are two. We have been blessed to have had no problems so far. But I know I have this hurt ahead in the future. You are in my prayers.

    • Carol says:

      She was at least six years old. I have had her for five years and she was an adult girl and already laying when I got her. The breeder at that time wasn’t sure if she was a year or two or even three years old. Over the years her underneath wing feathers had turned from black to white which was a sign of her age. I lost the other game girl, Toffee, that came to me with her, two years ago. I know she was at the very least six and maybe more so she is the first girl that I have got to a proper old age and she was also my long time favourite. They have such short lives but she was the longest lived of my girls and yet it still hurts so much to lose her. She was a one off special girl.

  6. Flock Mistress says:

    Oh, no. Not Emerald. She was a BEAUTIFUL bird. She lived a lovely life with you and you did the right thing by letting her go. I know how hard that must have been. I will always cherish the photos you post of her. She reminded me of my Coco.

    • Carol says:

      I know. We always agreed that Emerald and Coco were such beautiful birds and had such lovely natures too which is why they became our favourites. I will take my time going through photos of her because she deserves that and she was so beautiful.

  7. David says:

    She’s done very well for a chicken, especially to have been in such wonderful condition to lay despite her age. Her plumage was stunning, and she always struck me as a gentle bird. Thoughts are with you. X

    • Carol says:

      You are right. Earlier this year she had a lovely red face and comb and was laying every other day like clock work. She was stunning and she was also a very gentle girl. She never had a go at any of the other girls. She is already so much missed. X

  8. Kevin says:

    Thinking of you Carol. Emerald will not be forgotten and she had the best life possible with you guys taking care of her.

    • Carol says:

      Thank you. I have just done a tribute to her and looking back through years of photos she has seen many girls come and go in her time. She was such a lovely girl and is already much missed.

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