I’m spending some quality time with my LilyBird. I should be sending an invoice, working on a wedding invitation, editing some photos, completing a module in my photography business class. But I’m sitting in my recliner with an old towel and a little red hen on my lap with tears in my eyes.
Since early May, I’ve been bringing LilyBird in once a week to extract 150-200ml of ascites off her belly.
Today, I was only able to get about 75ml off of her, and it was only from one central spot. I tried about two sticks on the left and two sticks on the right, but they only led to either just a little bloody fluid or nothing (when I pulled on the thing in the syringe, I got resistance) so I pulled out and stopped. I didn’t want to stress her further.
Her comb and wattles are pale.
I think this may be the beginning of the end.
LilyBird was in my first batch of chicks from March 2013. She quickly became a favorite of all of us, I think. She’s the one I took the most photos of as they grew. Like the proud mama hen I was, I took pictures once a week when they were babies. And if you follow me on Facebook, you know how often I take photos of them as adult birds. If the dogs could notice, they’d be jealous.
When Lily was a couple weeks old, the screen got left off the top of their brooder once. Within one minute, Erin jumped in to chase the fluffy balls that moved on their own constantly. Tom heard the ruckus, ran in the office, and said, “ERIN!” in his sternest dad voice. Erin immediately flipped over on her back submissively. Right onto Lily.
Tom picked Erin up and tossed her out of the brooder. He then picked up little Lily. She was completely limp and looked dead. I burst into tears. Tom told me to get a rag, go into the living room, and lay down in the recliner with her on my chest covered with the rag. I did so, tears running down my face for an hour.
Suddenly, Tom said, “Listen!”
A couple tiny, feeble peeps could be heard from under the towel.
A couple more. A little stronger.
Then, she popped her head out from under the towel and peeped normally. She scrambled out from under the towel and up into the crook of my neck, settled in, and started preening.
She has several broken toes from the mishap, but has always managed to get around fine.
The entire time I’ve been writing this post, LilyBird has been sitting on my lap quietly, saying a little something now and then. She has the sweetest, high pitched voice of all of the girls. It sounds like a little song. But mostly she’s just looking around at everything from her vantage point.
Her comb is pale, and she’s breathing heavily, even after I pulled off fluid that was pushing on her diaphragm and lungs. Occasionally she shuts her eyes and chicken naps if the dogs are quiet.
She just stood up in my lap, holding her wings a little from her body, breathing with her beak open a little.
I think this is the beginning of the end.
This won’t be easy.
But at least I’m able to prepare for it.
It won’t make it easier, but I know it’s almost time to say goodbye to LilyBird.