On Monday after I finished posting to this blog (was I bragging too much???) I went out to check on the chickens. Minerva, who I noticed had waste stuck to her rear when she jumped out of the house earlier in the morning, was standing very still in the chicken yard. Not a good sign. I set up a spa in the garage and proceeded to bathe her back quarters. Sometimes the hens lay what I call a wet egg and their rears get sticky, bedding and waste can stick to the raw egg matter and they need a good wash and blow dry. But what I found was that she had prolapsed laying her last egg. This may have been the result of her being an excellent layer who now as a senior bird had lost the muscle tone necessary for laying safely. Our cats' vet referred us to a woman she called a farm vet who works out of her Jeep, going to the "patient." What an amazing woman. Bringing her into our lives was Minerva's final gift to us.
We get up in the morning and don't know what the day will bring. We face whatever comes with the best that's within us. Some decisions are difficult, stretch your courage and cause you to look deeper within yourself. In comparison to human life this may seem small. But all life is precious, especially those lives over which you have control. This new vet showed such respect for us, and for Minerva. She used all of her skills to give Minerva every chance to indicate that she may be able to recover from this. Clearly, interventions were not the answer. We had been treating her inside of the garage away from the flock and in a place with good lighting, but Dr. Jean said, "Let's bring her outside. Minerva would prefer to be out of doors." She breathed her last in my arms, baptized both by a light mist falling all around us and by tears. Dr. Jean continued to lightly massage Minerva's breast as I stroked Minerva's face and head. And then she slipped away.
Minerva was one of my first flock. She put up with my huge learning curve. She would have been 6 in May. She was an excellent layer, though she tended to go broody in the summer. I would describe her as the top of the pecking order and a close friend of the last 2 remaining original females. A beautiful bird and a sweet soul. She's now buried next to her good friend Phoebie under a stone cairn in the middle of the main chicken yard.
I will miss you dear one.