My Corla Bird is gone. She died today, and my heart is heavy.
Corla was a Dominique, easily mistaken for a Barred Rock. Dominiques have a Rose Comb and that is one of the things that sets the two breeds apart.
Corla had been sick for a while. I had done everything I knew to do for her. I’ve mentioned that most chicken owners either cull (kill) a sick chicken, or they treat them on their own. I’ve learned quite about how to care for sick chickens on chicken forums and websites over the years. I had done everything I knew to do for her. She seemed to get a little better and I was hoping she was on the upswing, but then in the last few days she took a turn for the worse. I knew this wasn’t some ordinary illness, but some sort of disease. She had lost a lot of weight, and had lost her appetite. She hadn’t laid for over a year, either, and all of the other hens her age are still laying. I had been preparing myself for her death, but it’s not easy.
When I first got my hens, I got six of them. Having chickens is an addiction. Ask anyone who owns chickens. You always want more! In keeping with that, within a week of getting my new chickens, I knew I needed more! It just didn’t feel like my flock was complete. Bud drew the line at two more. It was really pushing the quantity our hen house was built for. So I went to the Feed Store, and we then got Corla and Marvelanne. I soon discovered that they were both sick, and learned how to give a shot of antibiotics. They were so bad off they would not have made it without the antibiotics.
When new hens are added to the flock, it throws the whole pecking order in turmoil, and there has to be a restructuring. This is determined by tussles or ‘mini-fights’. Sometimes this entails taking a chunk of feathers out of their sister; other times, it’s chest butting or flying at the chicken and clawing them. Corla only had one tussle with one of the other hens in the beginning, and she gained her status as the Queen of the Pecking Order. It really wasn’t even a real tussle. They just butted chests once, and the other hen backed down. No one ever challenged Corla after that, even when she has been sick the past few months.
Corla ruled gently. She was never mean. The other hens respected her. Corla never bullied anyone, and rather seemed to protect the smaller hens. The hens on the lower end of the pecking order always cozied up to Corla. In fact, everyone loved Corla. When Corla was feeling poorly on our last trip to the Ozarks, she spent quite a bit of time in the hen house. On more than one occasion I found Beatrice in there with Corla keeping her company.
The Head Hen gets first choice of anything there is, and the other hens know this. Corla always wanted her own separate bowl. When I took yogurt out to the hens, I always took three bowls, one being solely for Corla. Corla was a little splay-legged, and when she lorded over a bowl, she always reminded me of a sumo wrestler. If anyone got brave enough to try to eat with her, she would look at the them curiously and give them a slow, soft peck to the head and they immediately backed off. That’s all it took.
She was one of my sweetest birds. She always took her treatment (whether it be a shot, or deworming, or patching up a bumble on her foot) with grace. She trusted me. She had the sweetest chirp, and if I had her wrapped up in a towel to look at her foot or bandage it, she warbled her sweet little tune the whole time I was working on her. She never got mad at me, or let me know her displeasure, as some of the others do. She had a very sweet disposition.
I will miss my Corla Bird dearly.