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.
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.
And then there were six. Goodbye Sparkle.