Goodbye Gerty

Yesterday was a rough day on the farm full of mixed emotions. I got my first egg and I lost my first hen.

Gerty had started nesting a few days ago and I started to anticipate the arrival of the first egg on Canadian Acres. My very first egg! All the hard work would soon payoff.

At 18 weeks and 6 days my dinosaur chicken gave me my first egg. I noticed her squatting multiple times around the yard and looking rather uncomfortable. Upon further inspection I realized her egg was stuck. By the time I got the egg out of her, it was too late. Her uterus prolapsed. I did everything I could do with my limited knowledge of chicken healing, even scoured the internet for an answer. I called a vet clinic in town only to be laughed at and to have no doctor return to me with any type of advice or news. I know she’s just a chicken… but she was my chicken. After reading everything I could find, I found out that a prolapsed uterus is a pretty rare thing to happen and could have been caused by a number of things. I think that she just maybe wasn’t built right.

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One month old Gerty

I made her comfortable last night and tried to figure out what to do next. She wasn’t suffering, she was calm and seemed to like the extra attention.

I knew I couldn’t kill her myself. I’m sure that makes me a crappy farmer but I just couldn’t do it. I backed up some reinforcements and had a team ready (I have some pretty great girl friends). But this morning as I approached the kennel I had her in, I realized she was gone. She looked peaceful and that’s all I could have asked for.

I am burying her today in the horse pasture with a nice view of the fields and plenty of grasshoppers to chase. I filled her burial box with herbs and flowers and laid her to rest. This is emotional for me, and it should be. I love my animals and care for them to my best ability. I will cry over the loss of this brave hen. She gave me one beautiful pastel green egg. I will bury it with her.

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So, my first egg story won’t be exciting or joyful. It will be one that holds sadness and loss, but I am so grateful that the funny looking chicken graced me with her presence for the short time we had. And her one egg will be the most beautiful of all my future eggs.

Farm life is hard, but I know that she lived a great one. I came into this adventure knowing that I would experience loss at a new level and I shall always meet each one with respect, gratitude and emotion. All life is precious and Gerty deserved to be loved and remembered.

Goodbye Gerty, thank you my friend.

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~Katy

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8 thoughts on “Goodbye Gerty

  1. I’m sorry to had to say good-bye to Getie, it must be tough to face these hardships. I hope we will soon have new stories of her counterparts and their successes. Good luck as you carry on, at Canadian Acres. LM

  2. So sorry to read this post. We also lost a hen when she began laying but her problem was laying an internal egg – meaning that the egg was pushed down her oviduct and sucked up into her abdominal cavity instead of out the back door. It was terrible and we also could find no vet. Supposedly learning to lay is a more difficult procedure than I realised. Gerty was sure a cutie!

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