RIP Scarlet


Scarlet’s fight ended this afternoon. She was comatose when I got to the barn. I did not disturb her. After her long battle I let her rest. I checked on her a while later. I thought she was gone, but picked her up to make sure. She was limp, but a could feel some slight movement in her chest. I held her for a little while until I was sure. I still do not know how she held out as long as she did. Or what was ailing her in the first place. I am going to miss her.

This photo is from just a couple months ago. She was sun bathing and I liked the way the sun looked shining through her comb. Hopefully they have sun bathing, dust baths, and lots of yummy treats in chicken heaven.



How in the heck is she still hanging on? I really don’t know. She seems about the same as yesterday. Her breathing hasn’t gotten worse. Every day I steal myself to find her dead, and every day I am amazed at her resiliency. I don’t see how she can possibly recover. But if she isn’t giving up, neither am I.

Here’s something I’ve been thinking about the last few days; just about any chicken keeper will tell you that when a chicken is sick, the rest of the flock will “take care” of the situation, meaning they healthy chickens will peck the sick chicken to death. I have heard and read this “fact” from multiple sources. Here’s the thing; none of my other 5 chickens has shown the least bit of aggression towards Scarlet. And it’s not as if she is isolated. I have her “sick bed” parked right in front of the waterer so all she has to do is stretch out her neck to get a drink any time she wants. The others come right up by her to drink. They seem to have absolutely no interest in her one way or another. My only answer to this is that we only have six hens and they have the run of the entire barn and are free to go in and out whenever they want, without fences. They are free range, but can be in the warm shelter of the barn whenever they want. I have to conclude that all of these “chicken people” simply have too many birds confined in too small a space. Coops and runs keep too many chickens in too close a proximity to each other. The stress of over-crowding causes an unnatural reaction to illness or weakness. You don’t see birds in the wild pecking each other to death, right? That is my take on the matter. What do you think?

And she’s still hanging on


I didn’t see Scarlet when I got in the barn tonight. I figured she must have crawled off to die somewhere. I found her huddled under my nephew’s wagon. Still alive! Unbelievable! She is nothing but bones and feathers, but she is still alert. However, she is showing signs of trouble breathing. Whatever this started out as, she has weakened so much that she now seems to be developing pneumonia. There is no way she is going to fight it off in her condition. If she is still alive tomorrow, unless some kind of miraculous improvement occurs, I am afraid I will have to make a decision I do not want to make. I know she is tired and weak, but is she suffering? Sigh. I just don’t know. She is still alert, still fighting. But if mere breathing becomes a struggle for her, can I let her linger on? This sucks!

Still here


Amazingly, Scarlet is still hanging in there. I don’t know how. There is nothing to her. She is too weak to even keep herself upright. Very often when an animal has been this sick for this long, they tend to “slip away” mentally. They may still be breathing, but they have withdrawn and are no longer “there”. Scarlet sleeps a lot, but she is still alert. She lifts her head whenever I approach and watches any activity going on nearby. This tells me she is still fighting. As long as she is still fighting, I will keep doing what I can for her.

Still hanging on

We had a little sun today so I put Scarlet in a sunbeam coming in the window. She didn’t really seem to care one way or the other. I had to keep moving her as the sunbeam moved while I was doing chores. She is still not showing any improvement, but she also doesn’t seem any worse. Sigh.

Still hanging in there, but…


Scarlet is still hanging on, but she keeps getting weaker. Today she did get out of the bed I made for her, but only walked about 2 feet. She was shivering, too. I don’t understand it. She is pooping, so her guts are working on the food I’ve been forcing into her. She is not snotty of congested, so it’s not a cold. She is not panting, so it’s not pneumonia. She is not feverish. She just is weak, lethargic, and won’t eat. The antibiotics haven’t helped. I can’t imagine what it could be. She does have enough energy to fight me when I try to force-feed her, so that’s a good thing. But she is slowly getting worse every day. Wish I knew what to do.

Come on, Scarlet! Get better already!


Scarlet is not getting any better. She is losing weight, is very lethargic, won’t eat. I have been force feeding her broth with a syringe to keep her strength up. She cannot get up to roost by herself. But if I lift her up to sleep there for the night, she will not get herself down. So tonight I made her a little bed on the floor right in front of the waterer. She will drink if I set her right in front of it. Hopefully if she is parked there she will at least keep herself hydrated. I put a dish of food right in her bed, maybe she will eat something. And with the blanket to hold in some body heat, maybe her energy can be better spent fighting off whatever is ailing her instead of keeping warm. She needs to start showing improvement! I don’t know what else to do for her.

Poor Scarlet

Poor Scarlet isn’t feeling well. The last couple of nights I’ve had to pick her up and put her on the roost. Today she wouldn’t eat. Her comb is drooping. She is lethargic. I syringed some water and broth into her mouth and gave her some antibiotics. Don’t know what else to do for her. I hope she will be alright.