Goodbye My Honey

ex battery hen

Yesterday I lost one of my beautiful ex-caged hens. Honey was rescued and spared slaughter last August by a wonderful hen rescue organisation called Little Hen Rescue. She came to our garden smallholding with 2 other rescued hens and spent the rest of her time as free as a bird. She was quite a character, quickly securing position as top hen within the little flock, even trying her best to intimidate my Coral hen housed next to them, through the wire.

ex battery hen

A couple of weeks ago I noticed Honey had problems with her crop emptying properly, I kept an eye on the situation and helped her by massaging the crop contents and administering an oil to lubricate (suitable for poultry), to move the blockage along. This is important to prevent the crop contents from souring, or, becoming completely impacted. Usually this is enough to remedy the problem and for a few days it seemed to be working.

ex battery hen

Honey started to withdraw from the flock again and the crop felt doughy on inspection, I checked her over and discovered a hard lump or mass underneath her which felt a bit like an egg (although she wasn’t displaying any signs of being egg-bound). I took her to see an avian vet to be examined, the hard mass that I felt was her gizzard which was now completely blocked. We agreed to see if we could try to shift the crop and gizzard contents along by giving her Metoclopramide injections, along with a probiotic and medication to prevent sour crop. I was told that it was most likely a tumour rather than infection or any other factor causing the blockage but I wanted to try a bit longer to see if we could turn the situation around. I brought her inside permanently to keep her warm, looked after her and prayed for a miracle.

ex battery hen

Despite my best efforts of nursing Honey, she deteriorated very quickly within a few days. Her crop and gizzard contents had not responded to treatment and she was frightfully thin and very weak. Another appointment to see the vet was made, after seeing and examining her again the mutual decision was made to give her sleep to end any suffering, allowing her to pass away peacefully and humanely.

ex battery hen

I’m comforted by the fact that she escaped the egg industry and a grisly ending, that she free-ranged and felt the sun on her back and grass between her toes. Anyone who gives a home to these girls knows they have unique personalities, you want them to live an unusually long and happy life.

Honey when she first arrived from the egg farm
Honey when she first arrived from the egg farm
chicken orchard
Honey looking much healthier just a few weeks later

Goodbye Honey, thank you for the laughs and cuddles. You were one funny, feisty little hen. Fly free x

To find out more about Little Hen Rescue, forthcoming rescue dates or how to donate to help fund rescue running costs, please visit their website: http://littlehenrescue.co.uk

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39 comments

  1. How said that she didn’t recover, but how lovely that the last part of her life was spent happily with you. My eldest loves looking at your rescue hens, it is a dream of his to have some one day.

  2. I am so sorry about the loss of your sweet Honey. She was indeed a beautiful bird. I started following your blog recently. We live in a rural area about an hour west of Atlanta, Ga. We sit on 5 acres in the country and I have always wanted a few chickens. My husband has always balked at the idea, that is until Christmas when he surprised me that he was having a coop made—allowing me to have 4 to 5 chickens.
    The coop is not ready yet but hopefully by Spring I will be able to get a few chicken. Until then, I am happy reading about your adventures with your birds. Thank you for sharing and I believe Honey was indeed a blessed bird—
    Julie

  3. I cried as I read this, and while we’ve never met, I love you for taking these girls in. People disappoint us so often, but then someone like you comes along….

  4. It breaks my heart to think about how Honey was treated at the start of her life, but to know she had love and sunshine at the end makes things better. Still teary though – thanks so much for the work you do and for sharing these stories. xoxoxoxoxoxoxox

  5. Thank you for sharing Honey with us. With you, she lived the beautiful life she deserved. I appreciate your talking about her health issue and your treatments. I also appreciate your decision to put her to sleep to alleviate suffering. I’m so sorry for your loss – but so happy you and Honey found each other.

  6. I’m sorry to hear your sad news :( she looked lovely and you looked after her so well. She’s had a great life with you when you saved her. Lovely photos and happy memories x x

  7. Bless you for taking her in and letting her be a chicken. The difference between how she looked when you adopted her and later is remarkable and telling of how bad her life was before. She was lucky to have you.

  8. Awww….so sorry about your Honey. Obviously she lived out her best days with you. It is difficult to lose a pet. We had a good-sized flock of chickens for years, free-ranging in our large acre back yard. Each hen (and occasional rooster) had a name and definite personality. Then the puppy who refused to learn to leave them alone came along. In spite of every safeguard, that dog managed to get at them and take one at a time, methodically killing 12-15 of them over time. Broke my heart. We finally gave them away…but having those chickens was fun and the eggs were great.

  9. We had almost exactly the same happen to one of our ex-battery hens that we rescued in June last year – she was put to sleep on Monday evening after a five week battle to try and clear her gizzard that had filled with grit. She too was such a character, so inquisitive, and always made us smile. It’s heartbreaking that because their little bodies are so conditioned to eating mash in the cages, when they eat normal food and grit it can have such devastating consequences. But the knowledge that they have enjoyed the outdoors, and have been allowed to lead a normal life, even if for a short time is reward enough. It takes a while for the pain of losing one to go away though.

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