Dear Mr. Carter
Ron Finley, I Think I Love You

The Lengthening Days

We brought our first hens home in May of 2010. They're well past their laying prime at three years of age. Imagine my surprise on Monday when I found both Sussies in a nest box. Lucy has been steady, giving us an egg now and then but Lupe, well, I don't know the last time we got an egg from Miss Lupe. After Tiny, she's at the top of the pecking order and can't be bothered with laying eggs. She has order to keep.

This morning I went to feed the hens and Hazel was in the nestbox. Hazel is my sickly girl, a Buff Orpington. She's not always sickly, she rebounds, but I've had lots of ups and downs with her. She's had sour crop and weakness in her legs so debilitating that she could not physically walk. She'd run and collapse, lie crumpled in the dirt until I could come for her. Her crop would fill with fluids, other times it would be her abdomen. I'd tip her forward if her crop were full, drain her with a needle if her abdomen were full.

She's been remarkably spry for many weeks now but never did I imagine I'd see her in a nestbox again. But there she was, sitting patiently, her eyes fixed on something only she could see. By the time I returned with the camera she was already up and out, leaving behind an empty box. Maybe she was feeling nostalgic. Doubtful, of course. More likely the morning light tickled something in her avian brain. Lay! Lay! it sang. And try she did.

Comments

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Cat

Aw ... sweet little hen. I'm glad you shared this story; it's very touching how you care for her and her desire to still do what she was born to do.

Katina

Just remember, Roberta - it's written in the Texas constitution that it's the woman's job to soak the hen's ass...

Sharon

I LOOOVVE this! --Mostly because I (having the some of the sisters to your hens) have so many of the same things happening. You put it to words much better than I ever could. I have had a special needs hen for the last 2 weeks..... I never know if she will have made it through the night when I go to get her out of the coop. She is my love....my tiny show-girl baby love. The yard is so quite and I miss her talking to me every day. We have deep converstations.... She currently is only eating (barely enough to stay alive)Warm oatmeal with molasses, flax, chia, chopped raisins or banana and acidophilus..... At least when she passes she will have no doubt that she was loved. I washed her hiney for her today. I find myself at the office now with oatmeal in my hair... :/ she works so hard to eat it she slings it everywhere. I will consider it a beauty treatment...

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