Molly sadly died on 7 July 2014. And if before January this year,someone had told me I would be sad because a chook had passed away, I would have been mildly amused. But I was sad when Molly flew the coop to free-range in heaven. Very sad indeed!
Trying to get Molly to eat from a container while her friend Dolly munches away from the chooketeria.
I had noticed Molly was not quite right in the beginning of June. She was gasping for air when eating so I spent some time observing her and thought her throat was hurting. One of my books on chooks – I believe the River Cottage one said: Go to the vet when in doubt and think of it as set up costs. So I went to the vet around the corner after phoning if they treated chickens.
At the vet I set Molly on the counter in her cat carrier while about six different dogs strolled around the waiting room. They belonged to the staff and probably wouldn’t have harmed Molly, but I didn’t want to take the chance. When the lady vet called us in we nervously got Molly out of the cage. I told her what I thought was the problem and added: “It’s not gapeworm.” I had done my research you see and gapeworm comes up as the most common cause why chooks gasp for air as it affects the lungs. As Molly only gasped for air after eating quite a few seeds or grains, it probably wasn’t gapeworm.
The lady vet left and when she came back she said that because her colleague and google had advised her that it probably was gapeworm after all and that was how they were going to treat Molly. She just needed to google some more to find out how to administer the treatment. Stunned I stared at Molly who was joyfully scratching the wood shavings on the bottom of the cat carrier and tok tokking away with me. Barnevelders are great chatters I find. Not gasping for air, not sick.
I went outside and saw the two vets studying the computer information and told them that Molly definitely did not have gapeworm and that I was going to take her away if that was how they were going to treat her. After being told that the chicken anatomy is quite complicated, I suggested that they might at least have a look in her throat. And after one vet looked at the other as if to say: “Had’t you done that?” they came and had a look. To be fair, the lady vet did apologise about three times. They found -surprise, surprise – that Molly’s throat was infected and they gave her two injections the next three days.
On day three – chickens are definitely not stupid as I learnt on day two trying to catch Molly for about an hour – I had a strategy. Molly was the last one still in the run and I was simply going to scoop her up when she went out. Except she did not go out, funnily enough, until I went away and chased some sparrows from stealing their food. She then in great haste left the fort and scurried behind the trees. So I postponed our vet visit till much later that day. And to give the vets some credit, they were very nice about that.
Molly did seem to improve for a while the following week but when Wim and I were away for the weekend, she passed away on Monday 7 July. She died a hero. On Sunday afternoon around five o’clock our neighbour came to close the coop and run and Molly didn’t want to go in so our neighbour came back around 7.30 at night with a torch. A car was parked alongside our property and a guy had already gotten out and was about to go up our driveway. As soon as they saw our neighbour they drove off. How’s that for a heroic act on your deathbed! Thank you Molly!!
Somehow Molly was always in the middle.
Free-ranging with Dolly at the back.