It’s been a sad sad time here for us…and it’s taken me a while to get up the courage to write about it. It breaks my heart to tell everyone that we lost one of the Chicken Nuggets earlier this week. Little Charity (the baby black) died Tuesday morning.
Monday morning we came home to find that Sadie had somehow gotten into the Nugget Yard. Two Nuggets were injured and Sass was missing. Thankfully Sass called out after hearing me call for her. She’d wedged herself behind and under the bedding cube in the corner. After helping her out, both she and Goldie let me know how mistreated and upset they were.
Seeing the two injured ones…my mind went numb. Charity! I wasn’t prepared for that. Having chickens was supposed to be easy! I’m not trained in Nugget triage! I don’t know the first thing of nursing a wounded chicken. Carefully wrapping them in a blanket, I took them inside, cleaned them up the best I could…and then began a fevered google research session. Charity’s back was mangled pretty
bad…but she seemed alert and calm. The other, one of the Americaunas, had two puncture wounds above her left leg…but she was very lethargic with shock. Researching all of this, I learned that shock can kill a bird…animal bites can fill a wound with bacteria that can kill a bird…secondary infections can kill a bird…even if the initial wounds don’t kill a bird. Most vets won’t even treat birds…especially chickens…”a wounded bird is a dead bird.” Besides, our limited budget makes it impossible to afford a vet even if we could find one that would treat them. *sigh* We’d have to do the best we could on my own. Using antibiotic creams (commercial and homemade), aspirin and GSE…we bandaged them up the best we could (if the circumstances hadn’t been so heartbreaking, that scene alone would have had us all laughing)…and then set up a schedule of dropper feeding them water.
By that night the Americauna was eating on her own and had perked up quite a bit. But Charity wasn’t doing so well. She’d drink the droplets I’d put on her beak, but she was puffing up her feathers in pain and loosing the alertness in her eyes. She was giving up. By morning she wasn’t drinking at all…her breathing was labored and rattling…and she’d barely open her eyes. It was time to let her go…and time to consider if it would be best to help her go. But I really didn’t want to consider that. I can be a bit selfish sometimes…and I’m not ready to actively take part in euthanizing a beloved pet. I’m so very grateful that I didn’t have to go there…but heartbroken that I couldn’t save her.
Never in my wildest dream would I have ever thought I would be mourning the loss of a chicken! Stupid Bird! The emotional turmoil this little creature has invoked has been immense at times. Stupid bird! How could any of this be worth it? Why get attached when heartache is the result? Why invest so much time, energy and love when tears are the only reward? Why plan and dream and hope when life can end in one confusing, senseless act? Stupid bird!
I’m not a farmer. I’m not prepared for these kinds of “life lessons”. I never completely thought through how I was supposed to help my kidlets get through something like this…let alone get myself through it. Stupid bird! I knew when we got the Chicken Nuggets that it was a big possibility we’d loose some. We had ducks when I was younger and I remember how we lost some of them…and chicks are supposed to be even more delicate. Plus I wasn’t blind to the predator factor. It’s one of the reasons I refused to let the kidlets name them right away. Naming an animal automatically puts them into loved pet status. We worked so hard on everything…I thought we were pretty much in the free and clear. Stupid bird!
Stupid, wonderful, amazing, perfect baby bird!
She touched our lives for such a brief time…but I’ll always be grateful for the gift her life was to us..and the lessons we have learned from her.
Why did it have to be her that was hurt so badly? We’ll never know for sure, but I can guess. She wouldn’t have run from Sadie initially. She may have even sacrificed herself to save Sass and Hope…her best friends. Hope had some broken tail feathers and was shockey most of that afternoon. She still had her duct tape “coat” on which probably would have saved her from serious injury.
When this first happened, my sadness and despair were running pretty strongly. I was wishing desperately that none of this had happened to my sweet baby bird. In frustration I mumbled that I wished it could been the Duo. FireBird heard me. She had been very attached to Charity and was always angry at the Duo for picking on her. But she taught me a valuable lesson at that moment. With tears on her face she came to the Duo’s defense. I can’t remember her exact words…we cried and hugged for quite a while…but her point was that the Duo might be a bit cranky and make some bad choices…but they’re still part of the Nugget family. They’re loved too…even by Charity.
It may seem silly, but I think we’re better because of her. Watching my kidlets grow and seeing their strength of heart and character has been amazing and priceless. As a mom, I would take away their pain and heartache if I could…but they’ve shown me how much love, tenderness and faith they all have. I’m sad that this incident had to happen for me to really see this, but I will forever be grateful to this stupid little bird! GadgetJunior was hit especially hard by all of this. He’d been sneaking some of the Nuggets out of the Nugget Yard…despite all our warnings about how much the dogs could hurt them. Reality has a way of hitting us between the eyes sometimes. But I am so very proud of this young man in the making! His compassion and maturity has grown to a whole new level. He wrote a sweet simple card for Charity…added a few of her favorite weed treats…and then helped everyone else sign it…to be buried with her. He’s also the first to step up in helping to care for the other injured one…and the rest of them as well…and he’s very careful to make sure they’re all safe. CareBear also wrote a sweet letter for Charity…and then wrote one to me to make sure I was okay. She held her sister that first night and the day Charity died, helping her through her grief.
It’s been a few days, and I’m still having trouble with forgiveness. Not once would this silly little bird blame anyone or anything. It is what it is. Woulda, shoulda, coulda can’t change that. I never once thought that Sadie could have crawled through the hole near the gate…but she did. She was only doing what dogs do…and none of it was done with evil intent. I know evil meanness and I won’t have a pet stay with that attitude. Sadie likes to play…and she’s a dog. It is what it is. But I’m having a hard time forgiving her for killing my silly little bird. My kidlets are much better at this then I have been…granted we’ve worked hard at trying to teach them to not hate or blame…but forgiveness isn’t something that can be taught so easily. Their love and interactions with Sadie hasn’t changed…and I have even overheard them express their understanding and forgiveness to her. I wish I were as strong. It’s not that I’m angry or hateful towards her…it’s just that I don’t feel anything towards her at this point. In time…perhaps I’ll be as forgiving as my kidlets are…probably when I figure out how to forgive myself.