Sparkle is gone

I have been having a terrible struggle  making a decision about Sparkle. This morning when I threw out the corn she didn’t even come down from where she was perched. I lifted her down and she had a few bits of corn then drifted away uninterested.

I had no lunches to deliver today but we are doing a B.B.Q. for sixty from five o’clock onwards so I thought it best to ring the vet while I have a free day. I got an appointment for eleven o’clock.

I picked Sparkle up and put her in the cat box for the last time. I thought that I would just take one last photo of her but seconds later her eyes gradually closed and I knew then that I was making the right decision.

Goodbye Sparkle

Goodbye Sparkle

Sparkle's eyes gradually closed

Sparkle’s eyes gradually closed

I think Sparkle may have been nearing her end anyway but I couldn’t let her suffer any longer.

The vet said that if she had still been eating he would have offered some different antibiotics but as she wasn’t eating there was nothing more to do for her. He said she felt much thinner than when he last examined her and said that I was doing the right thing.

He was very good and let me hold her while he gave her an injection in her tummy. She very quickly went to sleep but I was surprised how long it was before she went. I could still feel her breathing and talked to her, stroked her and cried for her.

The vet said it takes time to get round her bloodstream but that she was asleep and couldn’t feel anything. After about ten minutes he said he would give her a little more to speed it up and then he listened to her heart and said that she was gone. He said he would leave me for a minute and that I could take as long as I wanted.

I stroked her beautiful plumage and when he came back in I said that I was ready to leave now. He had asked me if I wanted to take her but I said that now that she was gone, it’s over and I don’t need to take her.

It cost sixty pounds which I think is quite a lot but I still think it’s worth it to give her a peaceful end. My husband and myself both know that we couldn’t do it so it’s the only way for us.

I carried the empty cat box across the car park while sobbing and hoping no one was watching.

Once back home I began to feel a bit better because I know it was the right thing to do and I have been wrangling with this for so long now. It has been seven weeks since she first showed signs of something being wrong and in all that time I haven’t seen her eat pellets and once did she have a dust bath.

I think it was probably because she had always had the most voracious appetite and was our fattest hen that she lasted so long. I have only had her a year and last year she was my best layer so this was really unexpected.

In four years of chicken keeping I lost Treacle right at the start at only nine months old and now I have lost two girls in two months.

As a tribute to Sparkle I thought I would end with a few photos of her.

Sparkle four days ago still beautiful even in ill health

Sparkle four days ago still beautiful even in ill health

Sparkle had the fluffiest bottom of all the girls

Sparkle had the fluffiest bottom of all the girls



And then there were six. Goodbye Sparkle.

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14 Responses to Sparkle is gone

  1. Amy says:

    Oh, I’m so very sorry. But you did the right thing. I’m sitting here crying while writing this as I really feel for what you are going through. It’s so tough. She was a beautiful bird and so lucky to have had you as her owner. She looked so well loved.

    Sending you a big hug across the pond.

  2. Jackie says:

    You know how I feel…. Love the fluffy bottom x

  3. Jenny says:

    So sorry to hear about Sparkle but well done for making what was certainly the right decision.

  4. Jillian says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry!
    I was crying while reading this post, so sad to lose any animal.
    Like my mom said to me, she never imagined the chickens ever becoming family members until they came. I hope that you get more chickens soon, if that is what you want.
    Sparkles knows that you did the right thing and (sorry to be preachy) is probably up in heaven right now, eating melons. 🙂

    • I know! We thought it steep but I felt there was nothing else to be done. Richard says you buy a chicken for £20 then it costs £60 to have then put to sleep, it seems unfair really.

  5. David says:

    I can only echo the sentiments already expressed. My reaction to the cost is the same as Steve’s: I pay just under or just over £20, dependent on how many cups of coffee the receptionist has had that day!

    I’m taking Cate next week…

    • Oh I’m sorry your going to have to go through this too.

      When I had Treacle put to sleep nearly four years ago my vet charged £60 and we thought it steep then. A consultancy is £28.00 and plus the antibiotics takes it to £30 which I feel not unreasonable therefore we wonder why an injection cost so much. But when he saw me for a chat about Emerald gaping he didn’t charge for his time and he has in the past talked to me about Amber’s struggle with egg laying and also about the feather plucking problems I was having too with no charge.

      Richard wondered if I should try to find somewhere cheaper but Jackie had a bad experience with her vet when she had to have one put to sleep. She said they were quite rough and held her girl down to give her the injection and she found it very upsetting and said she wouldn’t go there again.

      So on balance I decided that as I knew from Treacle how kind and gentle they were that I would rather just pay the price.

  6. Jackie says:

    I just love Steve’s comment . Straight to the point .

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