Sunday, July 18, 2010
R.I.P. Chicken Roo
One of my chickens, Roo, died on Saturday. She was a Buff Orpington, just over 2 years old, and a great gal. Her illness and death brought to mind all the practical dilemmas and philosophical contradictions, for me, of keeping egg-laying hens in the city. For example, when it became clear that she was sick, I didn't know where to turn. Should I find a Toronto vet (none of whom specialize in farm animals) willing to see Roo and possibly do surgery (I thought she had an impacted crop, but now I'm not so sure)? If my cat was sick, I'd take him to the vet without any hesitation. But Roo wasn't exactly a pet, though I did have strong and affectionate feelings for her. Instead, I went to the farmers market and talked with a number of farmers--all of whom said, "If it's an impacted crop, kill her and make soup." Gotta love those very practical farmers!
By the time I got home, Roo was dead. TC (my friend who runs torontochickens.com--this is a psuedonym; she prefers to remain anonymous because chickens are still illegal in Toronto) and I buried her in my backyard and I plan to plant some currants near her--she'll feed the berries over time. First, though, TC and I did an autopsy, which sounds grizzly but wasn't. We wanted to determine whether or not Roo did in fact have an impacted crop, but the results were inconclusive. I have to say that dissecting the neck of a dead chicken--a chicken I've spent a lot of time with--was not as difficult as I thought it would be. I learned something about Roo's anatomy and I learned something about myself: I've got a bit of the practical farmer gene in me, after all. Next time, I'll probably cut her neck pre-death (yes, cause her death) and make soup.