Farewell, Ashlee June 27, 2013

imageAshlee, we woke up this morning to find you had left us. Always the first to come running when you saw us in the yard, always forgiving as our kids endlessly carried you around the yard like you were a doll, beautiful with your white and gray and buff–you will be missed. You gave us hundreds of beautiful, big, sage green eggs. You survived a raccoon attack a few summers ago, with only a small scratch to show for it. You survived bullying and exclusion by a younger batch of hens, after your sister Jessica had passed–but you were savvy. You stayed on the outskirts of the flock for a few months, biding your time, watching and learning, until you charmed your way into their good graces. You eventually worked your way back up to the number two spot in the pecking order.

I am sorry for the way that you passed. Two days ago, I noticed you were a bit slow to leave the coop. Yesterday, you seemed tired. You croaked at me for attention, and I knew something was wrong, but I was too busybusybusy to deal with it right then. If I’d taken a few minutes with you, could I have figured what was troubling you and treated you in time to save you? If not, at the very least, I might have been proud for the way I cared for you, my friend. You gave us so much, and asked for so little. And in the end, when you needed me, I feel that I abandoned you. You deserved better. And you will be missed.

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42 Comments
Heidi June 27th, 2013

So sorry for your loss : (

Kim Kortenbach June 27th, 2013

Aww, I can tell you were a good and caring mama and loved Ashlee and gave her a very good life. It’s so hard to loss a pet and you frequently feel guilty thinking If i had only done this or that. Ashlee loved and appreciated you and that’s why she was always the first out to greet you, remember her with a smile and know that she knew she was loved. It must have just been her time. So sorry for your loss. Hugs, Kim

traci June 27th, 2013

Thank you for saying so!

Linda June 27th, 2013

I agree with Kim — you did your best, and sometimes it’s just time. I’m sure she had a wonderful life – the picture shows that she was a beautiful, well-cared-for chicken. Hugs!

traci June 27th, 2013

Well, thank you for the support. I will always feel guilty about this… But Ashlee sure did have a wonderful life, especially compared to how she might have fared in a commercial farm… I can feel good about that!

wendy June 27th, 2013

Sounds like you were a very good chicken Mom! She went peacefully! That matters!

Garnet Brooks June 27th, 2013

I have lost so many dear friends of the animal persuasion…I am new to chicken raising yet was raised around them my entire youth. I find myself pouring over your blog and others trying to re-educate myself to any and everything that I need to keep a watchful eye on, it’s sounds to me as if you are a great care giver and that Ashlee had a great life with you and yours…. So sorry to hear of any friend passing but it’s doubly hard to lose one that has been through so much and with you so long. From all of us here at Long Chit Chin Run Flats, Sub-divisions, Trailer Park, and Campgrounds a heartfelt condolence.

Chit Chin G.

elizabeth June 27th, 2013

sorry for your loss
hugs <3

Leslie June 27th, 2013

Awww……I am so sorry. I know how attached we can get to these feathered friends. My oldest was Frenchie, and Araucana who lived 12 years. She was my favorite and all though I knew she was very old…….it was sad when she died, very much like yours did. I did stop however the day she was winding down. I put new bedding in her box, and petted her and she had passed the next morning. Keep up your good work!

Barbara June 27th, 2013

I am so sorry for your loss, but please dont be so hard on yourself. She had a wonderful life with you, better than so many thousands of birds…. she knows…
They pass from our lives so often, and for so many reasons. It is never easy. My favorite girl just dropped dead from her perch one night and I still feel so sad about it, so I understand.
I know there is nothing I can say to make it feel any better, but you do have so many other beautiful birds that you can love on. Spend some time today, just being with them. If you listen hard, you will hear them telling you that its okay.

Jessica June 27th, 2013

I didn’t expect tears first thing this morning but here they are.

Leanne June 27th, 2013

So, sorry for your loss. Feeling guilty shows what a conscientious and caring chicken mom that you were to Ashlee. I’m sure she knew how special she was to you!

Ginger June 27th, 2013

Loosing a pet is always very, very hard. They can’t really tell us what’s going on with them. Slowing down because of the heat? A tummy upset? You can’t really tell. You loved her and gave her a great life and she loved you in return. That’s all she really needed from you.
I’m so sorry for your loss. Let go of the guilt. Hold on to the love.

Holly June 27th, 2013

Ashlee probably had a better life then 99% of the chickens in this world. She was lucky to be your chicken! I just lost my RI Red hen Edie and while I know I gave her a good life, I still feel like you do. We just do the best we can.

Diana June 27th, 2013

Aww Traci, you were a wonderful chicken mom, or you wouldn’t miss your baby so much. Sound like Ashlee had a wonderful home. We just don’t always know about our fur and feather babies, if only they could talk and tell us. All we, who love animals, have gone through something like this probably at least once in life. Don’t beat yourself up over this:(

Heather June 27th, 2013

This makes me so sad… I am truly sorry for you loss. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you during this hard time and please, try not to be too hard on yourself, most likely there was nothing you could do to save her and she no doubt in my mind knew that she was cared for deeply. Hugs

Elaine June 27th, 2013

Please don’t feel guilty about the poor chicken. I have had chickens since 1981 and, once they start acting “poorly”, they never recovered. They always died. No matter what I did. We had a saying, “A sick chicken is a dead chicken.” I realize you can’t know for sure. But, seriously, my experience has been that they’re actually very difficult to cure when they’re sick.

I did have a couple of them miraculously survive dog and raccoon attacks. They seem to be very tough that way. You did good nursing her through the raccoon attack.

<3

LindaG June 27th, 2013

Sorry for your loss. *hugs* ♥

Grace June 27th, 2013

I can understand what you mean, I found 2 of my chickens missing from my coup, one that would let me pet her and be there when I would fill their feed box that I had built for them. She would follow me around the coup when I would clean it out to make sure I did a good job. I do have pictures of her and her sisters at least I have that.

traci June 27th, 2013

You are all so, so sweet. You have touched me with your kind words. Thank you, wonderful women of the chicken persuasion!

Becky June 27th, 2013

Maize left us on June 14, 2013. Guess hens don’t live to be 20 years. I am sorry for your loss. They were good girls. Until you have a pet hen, no One can understand the loss.

deborah parkinson June 27th, 2013

so sorry to hear about your loss, it’s dreadful news, such a beauitful chicken 🙂

Uncle Bob June 27th, 2013

I am proud of the way you care for your animals , would expect nothing less . Very tough to lose a cherished pet that is part of the family . Read a lot of nice comments and they are right , Ashlee was lucky to have you .

traci June 27th, 2013

Aw, thanks Uncle Bob!! 🙂

Pat June 27th, 2013

I am so touched by your tribute, these silly hens are so loveable. Those without them do not have a clue how delightful they are. One thing that I have come to acknowledge is that sometimes there is nothing you could have done. It seems that circumstances get in the way of intervention and the drama and trauma of the exam, isolation, etc do not alter the eventual outcome. Just another perspective.
I know you loved her dearly.

Dana June 27th, 2013

So sorry for your loss. I agree with Ginger, “let go of the guilt – hold on to the love”

Stevee Salazar June 27th, 2013

Really touching, made my eyes tear up. The passing of loved ones is never easy, especially when they are good friends.

Gail June 27th, 2013

Awe, such a beautiful girl! And a wonderful sentiment of a tribute!
Those who love chickens are so blessed!

Mary T June 27th, 2013

I could have written that about my Ginger. The first of my flock to go and of all of them, my favorite. Please don’t beat yourself up with “if only.” We live and learn but most importantly, we love. Please accept my condolences.

Carrie June 27th, 2013

Aww, what a sweet little chicken Ashlee was. We’ve lost our share of chickens, too, and it is heartbreaking especially when they endear themselves into our hearts. But don’t feel guilty, she knew you loved her. She was probably just saying goodbye when she croaked at you, she knew it was her time to go.

Just think of her joining all the other chickens who have “walked on” to the other side, and when it’s our time to Walk On, we will join all of our beloved pets (family members, really!) as well as our human family members who have passed. That’s what I truly believe, anyway! So sorry for for loss.

Elyssa June 27th, 2013

That. Was. Beautiful. By the time I finished reading, I had a few tears running down my face! You’re a great chicken mom, and I’m sure that Ashlee will be looking down on you from that special place in heaven where chickens go. Hugs to you!!

Theresa June 27th, 2013

Traci, I am so sorry to hear about your Ashlee. . . I know 1st hand that you are a great chicken Momma. You have taught me soo much in the short time that I know you and have given me advice for my own girls! Hugs to you on your loss!!

traci June 27th, 2013

You are so sweet, Theresa! Thank you!

lisa June 27th, 2013

Thanks for sharing your story. I just lost my first hen. She was just about to turn six. I did manage to take her to the vet before she died, but by then it was too late.She had to be euthanized. I had noticed she was not feeling well for a couple of days but it was a holiday weekend and it would have cost me about $500 to have her seen on emergency. I feel so guilty for waiting. It probably would not have mattered. She had had a tumor that had been growing for some time. But I will always feel bad for not paying better attention to her and not taking her in for vet care sooner. We must take comfort in the fact that our girls lived better and longer lives than most hens in this world. RIP Susannah.

traci June 27th, 2013

I’m sorry for you, Lisa, and to everyone else who has lost their beloved chickens. I remember bawling for days after I lost my first hen. Their diminutive size doesn’t make losing them any less painful.

lisa June 27th, 2013

I just wanted to add, a sick chicken isn’t always a dead chicken. I took in my favorite hen because my whole flock was sick. They looked really bad. My Margaret Rose was a black frizzle bantam and she feathered so beautifully, a fluffy little fur ball. When she got sick her eyes were swollen and her face was very green. She looked like death. She and most of the other hens would not even come out of the chicken house or even perch at night. They just laid around. The vet told me she probably wouldn’t make it and I should sacrifice one of my chickens to do an autopsy. Instead, we decided to give them an antibiotic orally every day for two weeks. It was a pain to do but all my chickens recovered completely.

lisa June 27th, 2013

Thanks Traci. You are so right when you say diminutive size. I guess my first real loss was one of my little chicks that didn’t make it. I cried and cried. People thought I was nuts for crying over a chicken, but it can be very painful when their little lives are entrusted to your care. You do sound like a wonderful chicken mommy. Sorry you lost your beautiful Ashlee.

Barb June 28th, 2013

So sorry for your loss.

Lou June 29th, 2013

Tears in my eyes too…SOOO sorry for your loss.

Susan June 30th, 2013

So sorry you lost Ashlee. I fully understand, as we lost two hens this past winter/spring and were heartbroken. It happened so fast we couldn’t do anything to help them. I still miss both girls. We love our chickens so much. It sounds like you are a great chicken “mom” but I have come to believe we can’t change what apparently was meant to be. They are such endearing creatures, though, aren’t they?

Melissa April 17th, 2014

I am sorry to hear of your loss.
I also was wondering if you could help me, one of my week old chicks keeps opening her mouth and it looks like she can’t breath. or is having difficulty breathing and her crop seems to have nothing in it. What can I do for her? I have her in a seperate box and her own food and water.

Lissa April 22nd, 2014

Melissa, we’re not veterinarians and can’t diagnose your chicks. (Not even a vet could diagnose from afar based on a one sentence description.) With that caveat, our advice would be first to check the temperature of her area. Chicks will open their beaks and pant when they are excessively hot. Some chicks can get hotter than others (typically chicks with dark or black down) when you use a heat lamp. Make sure your chicks have an area where they can escape the heat so they can enjoy the most comfortable area of the brooder for them. Usually, you want to have your heat lamp on one side of the brooder, so the chicks can go to the other, cooler side if necessary for their comfort. If this is not heat related and is indeed a respiratory condition, you’ll need to consult a vet to get a diagnosis, and you’ll need to provide information such as how old the chick is, what you are feeding, if you are offering grit, what your brooder set up is, what bedding you use, what biosecurity precautions you take and what risks you face (such as whether you have other birds), how droppings appear and how frequently they occur, and so on. We do hope your chick will be okay!

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