A glum & brief post this one I'm afraid.
What a sad day we have had, the beginning of the school holidays tarnished by the death of one of our chickens, Ellie - she's the black and gold one you see to the right.
She's been a little off colour for a few weeks, and egg production has generally been down on the norm. I put it down to warm weather and the possibility that they were eating another poisonous plant like the rhubarb eating episode. But this morning Ellie looked truly miserable, hunched over, eyes half closed. So I found a local vet who specialised in chickens and made an appointment at lunchtime.
We loaded her limp form into the cat's box and, with the kids in tow, off we set to the vets, expecting no more than to come away with some antibiotics and a fat bill. Within a minute or two the vet delivered the startling news that Ellie had a large tumour in her abdomen and the only humane solution was to euthanase her pretty much immediately. My first instinct was to drop to my knees to try explain this difficult information to Izaac and Eve, aged merely 6 and 3.
Izaac went ashen but put on a typically stoic facade, turning immediately to his little sister to say 'Its ok Eve, we can get another who looks just the same'. But as his mum I know what a sensitive soul he is underneath. Eve meanwhile, in true dramatic style, crumpled into floods of tears pronouncing that she didn't want her chicken to die. Possibly my most tricky day a mum yet this one and one I won't forget in a hurry.
We buried Ellie under the apple tree after, at Izaac's suggestion, having trimmed off a few of her most special feathers as a keepsake. Poor Ellie, she served us well during her short time in our garden.