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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Happy Trails Pepa: Salt and Spinderella are not the same without you . . .

Last week was a sad one. On Tuesday evening, we noticed that Pepa was standing all alone under the grape vine, seemingly sleeping standing up. By Wednesday morning, she couldn't open her eyes and her breathing was belabored. 

So, we made a little hospital for her in one of the cat carriers. Eyes closed, mouth open, she stood there struggling for breath all day. Dr. Karin came over  and took an educated guess that Pepa had a very-developed respiratory infection. She prescribed medicine, but without too much optimism. Pepa had lost a lot of weight, and her crop was empty.

That night, we spent time with Pepa on the sofa. We administered the  meds and tried to get her to eat a liquefied version of food, water, and Pedialyte through a syringe and tube. Because her breathing was so belabored and she was struggling so for breath, she wasn't able to stop breathing long enough to consume much.

Thursday morning, she was still living...but barely. And she couldn't stand up anymore. Andy and I told her good-bye and went off to work. She passed away while we were gone. Watching any animal suffer is terrible, but watching one with a name struggle to breath was really depressing. At least she was loved while living, I guess.

Now, Salt is exhibiting the exact same symptoms. As crazy as many readers will think this is, she and Ani (hurt foot) have vet appointments on Monday morning. I know to many, it's hard to imagine that  someone would ever spend money on an animal that's potentially food and has such a bad rap (dirty, dumb, etc.), but our goals in getting the chickens were not meat-related. Really, since I was 20 and became a vegetarian, I've always had a soft spot for chickens. They live such horrible lives in confinement, and I wanted to give a few a great life. It turns out that they return the favor. They are so affectionate, they all have such distinct personalities, and I (we) honestly adore each of them almost as much as we do our cats...anyway, we hope we've caught Salt's illness in time. 

Dr. Karin assured us that we just have bad luck. She looked over our coop, we talked about snacks we feed the chickens, and she checked out their feed. It was nice to be reassured that we're not somehow killing these poor little creatures.

But, back to poor Pepa. She was part of our little Salt-Pepa-Spinderella baby trio that we got in early July. Compared to the other two, she was always a bit of a loner, and as she grew, she was impossible to photograph. I remember recently, Andy and I took the little trio out because I wanted to get a nice, cute picture for my "Introducing the Flock" post. Spinderella almost seemed like she was posing  for me, Salt was sort of "whatever" about the photo-shoot, but Pepa ...she seemed to know I was coming with the camera and moved her head just in time for me to miss my shot - every time! 

I hope she had a good little life and that, from birth to death, she was in peace. We hope Salt doesn't get a post like this anytime soon! Send us positive chicken vibes!



  1. I'm so sorry about them! I understand the connection between humans and creatures very well! I saved a little mouse once and then let him go after I had nursed him back to health! :0 And I named him too! :) Creature lovers unite! I am sending healthy chicken vibes!

  2. Thanks Monique! Little Salt passed on Monday morning. We're really hoping we can figure out what is going on. I love your little mouse story! Creature lovers unite!!