Today Freya Woof learnt to open the back door handle. Today she did this as I was in the garden feeding our chickens. She got Fajita, and I got to them so fast. I screamed at Freya and lifted my hand (a warning not being mean), she loosened her grip, but didn’t let go. I snatched my poor hen. Freya had her only by feathers at this point, so I inadvertently plucked a few more feathers from Fajita. Both our chickens ran for the house for safety and I got Freya’s collar and walked her to her crate for “time out”. I have kept them separate until this scuffle, and Freya is never allowed in the back garden.
In just a few seconds Freya had taken out most of Fajita’s feathers. When I picked up Fajita she was cowering under the stairs. She likes hugs, and is tame, but she ignored me calling her. I checked her over, no obvious bleeding or cuts, just lots of bald plucked bits. She was very muddy, having just wrestled with a large puppy on a flower bed muddy area. I thought she was ok, just bald, muddy and terrified.
But I decided I needed to clean her, so I could check more thoroughly.
So a quick shower and a hug in a towel later and I find a chunk missing from her back. She also can’t stand straight, and one leg seems twisted. She keeps collapsing. So off I got to the vet, driving with a chicken on my lap. She was hugging up and I think she knew.
My girl didn’t come home, although her body has. The vet said “I’m sorry but that lean she’s got means its spinal damage, she will not recover. I say “Is there any other way?” *shakes head*. So I give my girlie a hug, avoiding the painful bit, and a kiss on her head.
Now I’ve got to tell the kids! Tonight was already declared pizza night so I’ve just had to get some that are not topped with chicken. No way I can ask them to eat that tonight.
Also whilst in the shop I have got some pretty bulbs to plant with her grave in the back garden. The vet offered to cremate her, but I don’t do this, all previous pets, even fish and gerbils get a proper burial and marked with plants, flowers or trees. She might be seen as “a food animal” but friends are never food. Once they’ve got names, they are family.
She was buried at sunset, I normally say goodbye to my pets at sun down, it just feels respectful. Tikka watched me do this, she saw me dig and saw me lift Fajita out of a box, then place her in the deep hole. Tikka looked down at her pal, no clucking, no fuss. Tikka was always the boss, and Fajita was hen-pecked but Tikka didn’t do anything bossy this time. Nor did she dig in the newly disturbed soil – and any chicken keeper knows that took some self restraint.
Was a similar moment to when Bart and Mo said their farewells to Maggie. Sweet, but sad it had to happen this way.