Well, She’s Gone

This is never the sort of post that I want to make. Dealing with life and death on the farm (or in the backyard) is never easy. Last night I was pretty sure that Queen was not going to make it through the night. She wouldn’t lift her head or open her eyes. If I hadn’t touched her and felt warmth and the rise and fall of her back, I would have thought she was dead last night. I made sure that we all said good-bye to her. Sure enough, this morning she was gone.

We have lost animals before. Death by raccoon slaughter is mindless and senseless, but they kill to eat and to teach their young how to kill to eat. It infuriated me, but it was quick and part of the cycle of life. It wasn’t something that lingered (except for my intense dislike of raccoons). But we have never had an animal die of some kind of illness. We have never had one linger. We had been close to putting her out of her misery, but then she did a turn around. It only lasted a couple of days. If she had been alive this morning, I would have taken matters into my own hands, even though Mom couldn’t bring herself to do it. But she’s gone and it’s over and I’m relieved because I didn’t want to.

My son is taking it really hard. Queen wasn’t just my favorite. It’s strange how attached to a chicken you can become in 3 years. It is wonderful to discover how intelligent they are and just how much thinking they do. It’s been almost a year since we’ve lost any livestock. We were consoling ourselves with the thought of Queen being with Kyri who died eggbound and the ducks and the other chickens that were taken out by raccoons, being in a special part of heaven and eating all the cantaloupe and watermelon seeds and grubs that she could. I can’t imagine a heaven without animals.

Life goes on, though, and in the good news department, our rabbit cages finally arrived yesterday. The son and I put one together last night. It took about 3 hours to do it. I don’t think the other ones will take that long. I am just glad he is mechanically inclined. Anyway, so that cage we put out into the rabbit shed and we transferred Piper into it. We shouldn’t have to move her again while she is pregnant. With the easy clean cage with drip pan we shouldn’t have to disturb her much at all. Which is good because with the larger cage, I’m not sure I could reach her in the far back corner from the door.

I know that the equipment place said that these cages are stackable, but I don’t see how they can be. The top has no cross support so it sags just a little in the center. I’d be afraid it might collapse onto the rabbit below it. So when the husband comes back home we will build those PVC hutch frames to give them extra support and still stack them. For now Piper’s new cage is sitting on a table. We have a banquet table we can use to put two more cages on. I want to get the kits into them because they need the space. The Wabbitats are quickly becoming outgrown with three rabbits per cage. They will be the perfect size for growing out the ones we decide to keep for breeding, with one to a cage, though. They don’t need to be in an extra large cage while they grow to maturity.

Princess Angel Bunny let us walk right up to her today and she let us put food down right in front of her. Getting this close to her I can see she was in a really bad fight at one time. One of her eyes is damaged. I don’t know if she’s blind in one eye or if it’s just a scar pulling the eye funny. I just want to pick her up and take her to a vet, but she is just starting to trust us and I know it is too soon. I imagine if we do get her to a vet, it’s going to cost a pretty penny. With grooming and worming and treating the eye and whatever else might be wrong with her… I’d probably be better off taking her to the Rabbit Rescue station, but I’m so invested in her already. It’s supposed to storm badly tonight and tomorrow so she will probably disappear for a few days. She usually does when the weather gets foul and then I worry about her until she shows up again. Why do people dump pets? I just don’t get that mentality at all.

16 thoughts on “Well, She’s Gone

  1. Princess Angel Bunny is probably doing pretty well over all. Keep in mind she’s been outside on her own for a while now. To save you expensive vet bills, allow me to inform you that rabbits almost never get worms. Because they eat so much rough grass, it litterally scrapes out intestinal parasites. This is why dogs and cats eat grass when they have worms. If you are concerned you can mix some Dietomatous Earth (feed or food grade) into her food and give her lots of hay, but she’s probably worm-free. Grooming is pretty easy, and actually I would NOT groom her much. Rabbits are as fastidius as cats and flip their shits upon being bathed to the point that they can have a heart attack and die if they don’t trust the shit out of you. I have bathed rabbits before and it’s not pretty. If you wanna wipe her down with a warm, wet cloth it is your best bet for cleaning her. Any mats in the fur can simply be cut out with normal scissors. Toenails are already probably worn but can be trimmed with dog nail clippers to the fur line.
    As for her eye, I’d observe her for a few days. If it’s not bothering her too much and there is no serious dischage then it’s probably fine; and that sort of damage is also probably permanent. Nothing a vet could fix.

    I would mostly check to see if she sneezes at all. Keep her quarantined in a seperate room and use hand sanitizer between handling her and your breeding stock because there are a few rabbit diseases that sneezing is indicative of that are pretty deadly. If her quarentine checks out she is probably fine.

    I am really sorry about Queenie. :< Such a profound loss. Pretty sure we won't have that with our girls who are slated for dinner… I really hope you have fewer traumatic losses in the future!

    • LuckyRobin says:

      Good to know about the worms. I wasn’t talking about washing so much as brushing and cutting the matted fur out. I know you can’t bathe a rabbit. It will send them into shock. Honestly, I think Angel is probably doing just fine on her own and it’s just me that has anxiety about her, putting my own needs as a human into the same category as her needs as a rabbit. Which I know is silly. Her underside is filthy from the mud, but once the weather warms up and dries out she’ll probably be cleaner. I don’t think she’s going to let me catch her.

      Thanks about Queen. I’m not nearly as attached to most of the other layers, but she was from the first batch we had and she would let you hold her. Once you start petting it’s all downhill from there…

  2. Thumbelina81 says:

    Sending love your way. I am sorry for your loss.I cannot imagine a heaven without animals too.

  3. So sorry for your loss…

  4. So sorry to read about Queen. We’ve lost a couple of hens that way and it’s never easy. Always seems to be the ones we like the most that linger like that. Maybe it’s because they like us best too.

  5. Looking Forward says:

    My inital thought was calcium and/or phosphorus deficiency or imbalance. Second thought was kidney failure. Maybe you’ll find something useful here – http://msucares.com/poultry/diseases/dissymp.htm


    • LuckyRobin says:

      I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure, LF. Her feed was balanced and she had plenty of access to oyster shell. She just seemed to have a few symptoms of a couple of different things, but not enough of any one thing.

  6. Grace says:

    Sorry about your chicken. 😦 We lost a duck this morning and a baby rabbit. After grieving about the rabbit, I walked out to find a half-eaten duck. That is never easy.

  7. Looking Forward says:

    Another useful resource for many things Ag is your coop. extension. For your state –

  8. pmcmullan says:

    Your story has brought tears to my eyes because our animals are part of the family. It is so great to hear stories of people with “farm” animals who treat them with the respect and love they deserve, unlike modern farming techniques these days. Of course, there are animals in heaven – it’s supposed to be full of humans and we’re animals too!

  9. LuckyRobin says:

    Thank you. These farm animals worm their way into our hearts, don’t they? Yes, that is one of the reasons we are raising our own, so that we know they live a happy life and that their needs were met with caring and affection and that the proper gratitude for their service is given them.

  10. frugalhen says:

    Awww…How sad! I’m so sorry to hear about Queen!

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