Sunday, February 28, 2010

RIP Gray Whitney

One of our beloved girls died yesterday... Gray Whitney... named after Ray Whitney of the Carolina Hurricanes (our favorite player).
Our chicken, Gray Whitney, had developed 'internal laying' which means that she had something wrong with her body which made her not develop eggs completely, then when they traveled down the oviduct, instead of coming out of the vent, they dropped down into her abdominal cavity... and sat there.... that's a problem. We noticed that she was walking funny a couple of weeks ago, but didn't see any problems, then noticed that she had a large mass in her abdomen. At first I thought it was because she was egg-bound (when an egg gets 'stuck')... but then realized that the mass was in the wrong place for an egg-bound bird. My friend Dave tried valiantly to save her by performing surgery to remove the large mass. We put her on antibiotics, made sure to keep the area clean and treated it with an antibiotic spray, and she seemed to be doing better for a few days, but she then went downhill and stopped eating. Unfortunately, there is only one way to 'cure' a chicken which has an internal laying problem, and that is to give her a hysterectomy. Not something I could do, and not something we could afford to pay a vet to do. She died peacefully in her sleep last night, and the kids and I had a little funeral for her.
I didn't really want a dead chicken, no matter how special, sitting in the house all day waiting for Mike to get home!

Gray Whitney at 6 weeks old, right when we brought her home.
It wasn't our first chicken death, but this one was a little different because Gray Whitney was one of our most friendly and expressive girls... and it's the first time the kids were fully aware of what went on. The other few we lost just 'disappeared' via vermin or Mike disposed of the body before they were aware of it. When we went in to check on her this morning, I warned them, like I did every morning, that she might not be alive anymore, and when I opened the cage I could tell she wasn't 'there' although she was sitting there peacefully, like usual. When the kids saw that she wouldn't move and her eyes stayed closed, I told them she was dead. They took it really well... I let them pet her, and they both said goodbye to her, but I'm not sure that Anderson understands 'death' yet. He did learn that even if he played the 'flute' (recorder) really really loud, she still wouldn't open her eyes. He says he misses her... Neither kid was upset though, and the burial ceremony was very nice. Anderson played a song on the flute, and Taylor Anne said a little prayer of thanks for such a sweet bird.
Gray Whitney as an adult - wasn't she a beauty?


Chickens in the Basement said...

Yes she was! I am so sorry. Isn't it funny how much you can miss a silly chicken? I'll be thinking about you!

Natalie said...

She really was a beauty. What unique coloring. And wasn't she blessed to live with you, to be loved and cared for? She had as good a life as a hen could hope for. Rest in peace Miss Gray Whitney.

Tipper said...

She was a beauty. I'm sorry for you and the kids.