It was a hard winter for my chickens, and I had three girls in quarantine in my bathroom basement due to faulty vents (The place where eggs come out was swollen and bleeding). I had two hens in cardboard boxes and one in the stand-up shower. I was doing everything in my power to nurse these hens to health: Sitz baths, rubbing peroxide and vaseline on their bottoms, wheat diet, keeping them warm, and limiting the light in the room so they wouldn’t lay as many eggs. This continued for over a week, and my bathroom was stinky. The girls seemed to have improved, but the moment I returned them to the chicken coop, their condition declined again. Moreover, chickens are crazy, if a hen shows signs of sickness, the others will attack it. So now my three ill hens were in worse shape than before.
In the end, my husband and I had to make a tough call. We had to put the sick hens down. Trouble was, we still lived in the city, so we were going have to do the deed in the garage. My husband set up a chopping block and sharpened the ax.
I picked up Lola and gave her a hug goodbye. I held her still on the block, and my heart raced inside my chest. My husband swung the ax and missed. He swung again, but the blade must not have been sharp enough. A couple more whacks, and her head still wasn’t off but she seemed dead. He put her upside down in a 5 gallon bucket to drain out but then she started flapping around. I screamed, “She’s not dead! You didn’t do it right!” Tears streamed down my face. “Do something!”
He pulled her out of the bucket and set her back on the block. This time he actually got the head off, but Lola jolted and slipped out of his grasp. She fell onto the floor and sprang off the pavement, nearly as high as my shoulder.
I screamed, cried, and ran around the garage to avoid the jumping chicken.
After several hops, she finally fell down still.
My heart was pounding so hard, and my eyes were bulging in horror. I couldn’t believe that had just happened.
I turned to my husband. “You need to sharpen that ax.”