Nothing comes without a price

For a few days over a year now, we’ve been enjoying fresh home-laid eggs, taken from our four chickens. Up until now the cost of our eggs has been counted in cash terms: non-GM organic foodstuffs, hen run build and maintenance. Today the costs were counted differently.

One of our girls, Spike [yeah, I know], went lame in one leg last summer. The vet told us she was in no distress but that her leg was withering and was unlikely to recover. He offered to put her to sleep, but we said that until she was in discomfort, until she could not manage, she would have her life. The best possible. At that time I also committed to sending her on myself – there are responsibilities in all things, and this was mine.

When I got back from a weekends sailing this afternoon, it was clear that she was very unwell and had been so all weekend; unable to support her weight on her remaining leg, and making feeble attempts to move using her wings. Although she appeared alert and still in no pain, it was clear that she was at the terminal end of her comfort zone, unable to escape her own faeces and unable to reach food. I know it was the right time for her to go, and I’m happy I managed it cleanly and without pain. But it was hard.

She was only a chicken. A food bird. A soul-less creature for Man’s dominion. Bred to lay eggs and be eaten. To impose an intelligent character on a chicken is irrational. So some folk might tell me. Stuff ’em. [pun definitely intended]

Journey well, Spike.


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4 responses to “Nothing comes without a price”

  1. Wot, you buried her?! There’s good eating on one of them you know 😮

    In all seriousness (and with apologies for the bad taste just demonstrated) I’m sorry to hear about Spike and hope that all is well and continues to be well with the remaing 3 girls. I guess you can’t really get a Spike MkII as the older 3 would presumably pick on her?


  2. Well done, Bish. It’s a responsibility only understood when faced. Personally, I wouldn’t have eaten the girl either. Something about sick animals being eaten just doesn’t settle well in my tummy.

    BTW, did you know your blog is not advertising an RSS/XML feed?


  3. Perhaps next time you need to secure professional assistance…?


  4. It’s a hard thing to have to do – I know the first time I had to do the necessary with one of my birds I was in a terrible state beforehand. But as you say, livestock owning carries responsibilities. For me, taking the step of consciously ending a life with my own bare hands was a significant bridge to be crossed – but cross it I did, and y’know, it’s OK on the other side. Well done bish and journey well Spike. 🙂


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