Scrufflechook after her first egg after her first go round in the house.
The other day was very sad. We lost our dear friend Scrufflechook. Scrufflechook was a very special chicken. She was part of our original flock of Chanteclers. There was nothing special about her until one day last fall when we noticed she was cowering in the corner of the pen, and that her neck seemed twisted. We took her in, (something we should really never do if we want to be “real” farmers) first into the basement then she slowly made her way upstairs into the office, my office. SHe spent most of the winter in a large dog crate, being fed a diet of broccoli and kale. Her bent neck never quite was right again but other than that she seemed fine. One of the sheep, we thought, had knocked her down badly when coming out of their barn. She did after all like to hang out and lay eggs in their side of the barn.
Over the time she was indoors Scrufflechook became very friendly. She would say hello and talk to us, take food from out hands, and generally seemed to enjoy human company. She got used to the cats hanging around, and even Beauty our large dog. Scrufflechook had become very much a pet and friend. She was slowly reintroduced into the outside world. First in with the silkies, which didn’t go very well, and then out into the chicken coop. She made trips into school to teach the Urban Chicken course and was a hit with everyone who met her, she was the chicken that liked to be held.
Although she was still low on the chicken totem pole she made the best of it. Slowly she was accepted again and she seemed very much to enjoy herself. At one point this summer she had even seemed to NOT want to be friends with us anymore. More chickens came and went and was just fine. There was a point where she was being picked on again and thought she would go for a walk about. So we set her up in the Aark so she wouldn’t be harassed, kept checking her crop to make sure she had been eating. After a few days of that and letting her in a different part of the garden she settled down and seemed happy and active again.
Last Thursday, October 14, a day after the second urban chicken course in Guelph she took poorly. Nothing really serious, she was just acting a bit strangely. It is the time of year that our chickens are molting so she looked pretty scruffy. She also seemed to have a good time at the urban chicken class on Wednesday. She was alert, eating, calm, moving around a bit but generally more interested in preening herself than just about anything.
On Thursday during the day she seemed fine, walking around and eating. It wasn’t until closer to evening that she changed. She wasn’t moving and had stopped eating. She had that hunched up look that chickens get when they are not well. I put her into the Aark as she knows it and has seemed comfortable in there. We went out a little later to check on her and weren’t happy with how she was doing. She was sitting inside the Aark and just ill.
Out came a small dog cage, tarp, feeder, waterer, and anything else that we thought would have made her comfortable. She settled into the cage on the Thursday evening just fine. On Friday morning she had forgotten no better. We knew his was not good. Scrufflechook was put down by our vet last Monday, the 18th of October. Neither of us could face chopping her head off. She had been too good a friend to do that. Our vet is a wonderful lady, and understood that chicken or not, Scrufflechook was a pet and should be treated with dignity.
We’ll miss you Scrufflechook, you won’t be able to be replaced.
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