Last week, we had snow. And, temps that were just short of bone chilling. I decided to keep the chickens in the coop - not that they would have gone out anyway!
Jerry had to replace the heat lamp bulb and he made sure to do a head count before shutting them in on Monday night. Tuesday they stayed inside.
Wednesday morning, Cole comes shrieking in the house while I was in the shower saying that Lucy was under the coop (it's built 2' off the ground - for shade in the summer time.) I told him to grab a broom handle and see if he could scoot her out. A few minutes later, he's back screaming and crying hysterically.
I tell him to come into the bathroom because I can't understand him thru the door. He rushes in, holding Lucy. She has congealed blood all down the side of her head and body. She is blinking but it didn't look good.
I told him to put her in his bath tub because it has glass doors we can shut. I was afraid the dogs or cats would try to get at her.
At this point, I'm freaking out. I don't do well at the sight of blood. At. All. In case of emergency, I am NOT the one to call. I witnessed violence in my family as a tiny child and even though the adults say it was nothing, it really made a horrible impression on me. To this day, I feel very helpless and scared at the sight of blood. Even minor injuries flood me with overwhelming emotions.
I did marry someone who is calm, rational and rock steady thru any bloody crisis. So, I called him (he goes to work early). And, I called and called and called. All the while just freaking out. I mean, she was a white Leghorn and now is obviously in major distress, because you couldn't see any white - only red.
He finally calls me back and I'm beyond control. All he understood was "blood" and "get home NOW". So he does. Meanwhile, Cole is unconsolable. I ask him gently if he knew what happended. If he knew how Lucy got out. Our coop is like fort knox - you just can't get out. A human would have to open the door. He said that he opened the door for just a minute then shut it again. He didn't see her come out. (It was pitch black and he doesn't carry a flashlight.)
His eyes and sobbing tell me that he feels very responsible.
Jerry gets home and checks on Lucy. He says it doesn't look good. He asks the neighbor to come take a look. The neighbor, in my opinon, is more of a rancher than farmer. I don't think he ever had chickens, but he is older and wiser and we value his opinion.
He says it doesn't look good.
By the scene in the coop, it looks like Lucy got trapped outside in the dark and snow. She tried to get out of the run thru the lattice holes. Somehow, she tore her comb in the process. She lost a lot of blood and was barely breathing. Her comb was almost 100% torn off.
Jerry and neighbor decide it best to end the suffering.
I cried like a baby for my chicken. All my life, I've always wanted chickens. I've always lived in a city environment (but longing for the country). City people just don't understand having a chicken for a pet. I've gotten a lot of grief over the years for this little dream, but finally, this year, for my birthday, I bought myself something that has just meant so much to me. I can't even put into words how much healing took place in the last 4 months that I've spent with these silly birds. I never do anything for myself and this was a huge step in the right direction. I, too, suffer from depression. There are times when it comes up on me with a vengenace and this fall it returned, deeper and blacker than anything I've ever experienced before. Yet, I could get up, go out and sit in the yard on a sunny day and just watch the chickens be chickens. And, now Lucy is gone. Yes, she was a rooster and I knew I'd have to give her away, so I was prepared for the letting go... just not this way.