She Was A Good Hen

My girl.

My girl.

My friends, the news is not good.

Sophia was euthanized yesterday.  She died in my arms.

It was a dreary day, but she seemed to enjoy the trip to the vet.  She was tucked in her box and she rode shotgun, craning her neck trying to see out the window.  We were just two girls, goin’ for a little ride in the country.

She was alway up for an adventure, and spunky till the end.

She was alway up for an adventure, and spunky till the end.

When we got there, the exam was brief.  Nothing had changed in the past few weeks.  She had no disease, plain or exotic.  She was simply old and it was time.

My vet is a nice, old-school kinda guy.  My guess is, since he’s one of the few vets that treats chickens around here, he’s seen a dramatic rise in people bringing in chickens to be nursed back to health rather than being sent to the stew pot.  He seems somewhat bewildered by it all.  Respectful, but bewildered nonetheless.

He gave her the shot, told me it would take about five minutes and left the room. I wrapped her back up to keep her comfortable, and I sat down to say goodbye.

I told her she was the kindest hen I ever had the pleasure of knowing.  I admitted I was a little reluctant when our neighbor called with the offer of an older hen, one that had been alone without flock mates for a while. But saying yes and taking her was a very, very good decision.

I apologized because I could never remember how to spell her name right – is it with a ph or an f?  (She forgave me.  I think she was laughing a little.)

I told her she had always been special, been different than the rest and that I felt like I always knew what she was thinking. I said I was grateful to her because she taught me that chickens can have personalities that are every bit as enjoyable as humans.

I said that her relationship with Doink, the way she snuggled in with him every night, the way she hung out with him during the day, was about the best thing ever.

I reminded her that lots of people (from all over the world!) have been keeping up with her story, sending their best wishes and hoping for her recovery.

I told her that I was crying because I loved her and I would miss her very much. I said that some people think it’s crazy to love a chicken, but I didn’t think it was crazy at all.

When the vet came back, she was already gone.  I was still rocking her back and forth in that unconscious way mothers rock their babies.  He patted me on the back and said he was sorry.

“Me, too,” I said.  “Me, too.”

Last photo.

Last photo.

Thank you to everyone for your healing thoughts and kind words for my girl.  They were greatly appreciated.

Note:  I think I’ve written more about Sophia than any of my other animals.  If you’re new to The Chicken Mama, here’s a few stories about her.

(Shared at  Simple SaturdaysFrom The Farm Hop, Old-Fashioned FridayHomeAcre HopDown Home HopBackyard Farming Connection, Tuesdays With A Twist, Maple Hill HopHomestead Barn HopClever Chicks HopHomesteaders Hop and Farmgirl Friday)


  1. So sorry to hear about Sophia. Glad it was just old age that’s been holding her back and not an illness/injury. Hopefully this will be the last loss for a while and the whole fox thing is in check? 🙁
    Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe recently posted…Chocolate Pineapple-Banana Bread

  2. Denise Dlouhy says:

    I only found out about Sophia lately and I can relate to putting down a chicken. I had a hard time doing it but she wasn’t living the life a chicken should. I am so sorry for your loss. God Bless….

  3. Oh, Joan! I am so, so sorry to hear about Sophia! She was lucky to have found her way to you and your family. No one would have taken better care of her. Thanks for sharing Sophia’s story with us. Hang in there. I’ll be thinking of you!

    • Oh Tia it has been so hard. It was such an intense week. But she was mostly happy, sittin’ in her box on the counter in the kitchen watching TV. Oh, the stories she’s telling across the Rainbow Bridge 🙂

  4. I’m so sorry, I know how you feel after losing my special needs hen, Bird. She did have a good life.
    Kathy recently posted…Guess Who’s Pooping in My Garden

  5. diane c says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your Sophia. It’s so hard to lose a friend. My condolences to you.

  6. Rest in Peace Sophia!!!

  7. I’m so sad to hear this, Joan, and am thinking of you. It’s never easy to lose one, even though we may know it’s the right time.

    She was a good chicken, and you gave her a happy life. That’s not a bad epitaph. x

    • Yes, it was time. She couldn’t live in the kitchen forever, even if I wanted her to. (Although I think she was enjoying watching TV!)

  8. Ellen C says:

    Thank you for sharing your loss – I too am a devoted chicken mama and it is difficult to lose one when we’ve tried so hard to make them better. Perhaps my Mr. Stiltz (also euthanized this week) will meet up with Sophia in the world beyond the Rainbow Bridge. He was partial to red heads and a real gentleman. My henhouse is entirely too quiet now and I sorely miss him especially during the evening head count – his corner is empty like my heart. Perhaps in my next batch of pullets there will be another ‘accidental’ rooster as gentle and comical as Mr. Stiltz.

    • Oh, Mr. Stiltz! Ellen, I know how you’re feeling. That evening head count is the worst 🙁 I hope they meet, out there somewhere!

  9. Marsha Kern says:

    I am so sorry. I understand you loving her, she was a very special hen.

  10. So sorry to hear about your loss. I lost my Rhode Island Red, Penny about a month ago. Have no idea why she died she was just nine months. I just found her dead on the floor. I miss her, she was a good chicken. I’m sure you’ll miss Sophia for a long time. You were such a good mama to her. I’m glad you could be with her in her final moments. I’m so sorry.
    lyn moon recently posted…The Chicks at eight weeks old.

  11. I am so sorry Joan, this circle of life thing sucks… I know she had a great life with you and I know I’ll miss her stories but I also know she is keeping the high watch over your farm now. Happy she had a nice long life you guys. Sending BIG ((hugs)) to you today.
    Jen recently posted…Natures Balance…

  12. What a beautiful tribute to your girl, Joan. RIP Sophia. Give my love to Brutus, Spartacus, Stella and Esther as you range freely together in a predator-free pasture over the Rainbow Bridge. ♥
    Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick recently posted…Flock Focus Friday, 5/16/14

  13. I almost cried reading your post. Thank you for sharing at Tuesdays with a Twist! Hope to see you again this week!
    Mary @ Back to the Basics
    Mary@Back to the Basics! recently posted…Tuesdays with a Twist #59 is LIVE! No Rules!

  14. So sorry to hear about Sophia, it’s so hard to say good bye to an animal that has become so much a part of the family. Thanks for sharing your post on the HomeAcre Hop, hope to see you again tomorrow! – Nancy The Home Acre Hop
    Nancy W recently posted…My Garden: 4 Benefits to Raised Beds