My chickens are more than just egg-layers. They are my pets. I became especially attached to my original flock of chickens. Eula was one of my original six. I named several of my chickens after my grandmothers and great-grandmother. Eula was my mother’s mother.
All chicken breeds have their own unique chicken sounds. After I named Eula, I noticed that she actually made a sound that was very similar to an exclamation that my granny use to make. She would say, “Whoooooaaaah!”
Sometimes when Eula would get angry or impatient for a treat that was not forthcoming, she would ‘scream’ in her chicken way, over and over. She reminded me of a child throwing a temper-tantrum. She would get louder and louder and louder, her little face and comb would turn red, and her whole body would shake. It always came to mind that it was so unlady-like, and I would tell her so.
Eula was a great forager. Even as the older gals have begun to get lazy about foraging, Eula was always right out there looking for the next bug or hidden morsel in the grass. If there was shoveling going on, she was the first one there, and would often hop onto the shovel and start scratching for worms she knew would be there before the dirt was even dumped on the ground.
Though her name was Eula, I often called her Eula Belle, Belle or Bellie Girl. She was one of the friendlier hens we’ve had and was always very curious as to what we were doing and if we might perchance have a treat for her.
Belle started laying internally. They can die from it, and there is no treatment. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve learned to become my own vet, since many veterinarians do not treat chickens. Also, most people learn to treat their own chickens since they have such short life-spans. I’ve learned a lot, but with this ailment, all I could do was watch it happen. I did give her several epsom salt baths, to hopefully ease some of the discomfort.
Eula has had a lot of illnesses…more than any of my hens. There have been so many times that I was sure that I was going to find her dead the next morning, had prepared myself for it, and I would go out the next morning and find her up and ready to go greet the day with the other hens as if she had never been ill.
When I determined she was laying internally, I could feel the eggs inside of her. She didn’t display any of the symptoms of being egg-bound. She began to waddle and her abdomen got really big. She also lost her appetite.
When I thought she seemed as if she were about to pop, miraculously, her abdomen started going down, and I thought she might be on the mend. Her appetite came back and I started giving her meal worms in the evening. It got to where she was meeting me in the hen house at a certain time in the evening because she knew she would get a treat of meal worms every evening at that time. I knew she needed the extra protein to gain weight, because as the swelling went down, it became painfully obvious that she was skin and bones.
Then one day Bud alerted me that she was on the porch and seemed lethargic. Anytime a chicken is not moving, there is something wrong. I eventually figured out that she had developed sour crop. I tried everything I could find to do for sour crop, including turning her upside down, squeezing her crop and making her vomit the putrid yellow liquid. Sour crop is basically a yeast/fungal infection. When a chicken has sour crop, the food stays in there and ferments and the food will not pass down. I had to do this numerous times, but her crop kept on filling up with yellow liquid and gasses. Her immune system was just shot, and she just could never lick the illness.
Finally, her little body gave up today.
I’m grateful for all of the many eggs she laid for us. I’m thankful for all of the joy she brought us, and all of the many times she made us laugh. I’m SO thankful for the many answered prayers on her behalf and all of the miraculous times he bounced back from an illness when I was sure she was going to die.
I’m thankful that the sun came out this morning after being cloudy for two days, and that as Eula became weaker I could sit out in the sun with her in my arms and let the sun heat her thin body while she listened to the other chickens around her. I was able to hold her and tell her how much I loved her and how much joy she had brought me. ..that she has been a good chicken. Most of all, I’m grateful that the Lord answered my prayers and gave her a quick and easy passing. Thank you, Lord, for that answered prayer, and thank you that out of all of the hens I had to choose from the pen at the feed store that day, you helped me choose Eula.