RIP Eve, Our Showbird Barred Rock
Abigail Black/Mindwatering 06/11/2021
Eve was a beautiful bird. She never suffered an ugly molt, her lumage was (until the end) pure black and white. We called her our showbird because she looked like we could plop her on a podium.
Outgoing and energetic, she loved to range. Her eggs were delicious. She was very friendly, liked cuddles, and never really engaged in the pecking order. Her favorite foods were clover, raw egg, and grubs.
In early February of 2021, we noticed her crop wasn't emptying. After several days of observation, we agreed that noninvasive measures were not working and we needed to put her on the table for surgery. The dining room table was unavailable at the time, so we ended up setting up a footstool on the floor.
Instead of large bits of food like we were expecting, there was a fleshy glob inside her crop. It was fleshy white with dark spots. It bled profusely. Blood is not a common thing in crop surgeries, as chickens clot quickly. Unable to do anything, we closed her up, After a few days of post-surgery, we released her back into the coop with our other three hens. The mass disappeared after about two weeks, and we thought nothing of it.
Around April, we found two small lash eggs on the roost board. We assumed they were Sally's. Then Eve began losing weight rapidly. She still maintained her vitality and livliness. Feeling her body one day to gauge her muscle mass, I found a hard blob at the bottom of her butt. It was small, around the size of an egg. It didn't seem to be hurting her, she didn't seem to know it was there. We kept an eye on it.
Over the next two months, the mass in her butt swelled from egg-size to, at the time of her death, football-sized. Until the last few weeks of her life, she acted completely normal. Then, she started waddling, she grew tired faster. She had barely any meat on her. Her entire body weight was in the mass in her butt. We didn't have the heart to cull her. After Big Twin and Sally died, we purchased 5 and 6-week-old pullets, because we knew that Eve was in a sad shape and Naomi would be left alone.
The pullets' meetings and the hens' meetings were calm. We had them separated at first, and only allowed them both free a week after their initial meeting. Eve's reaction was a wide-eyed "ALIENS. What are these noisy things?!" But she took to them well, by ignoring them, mostly.
Around a week before her death, she rapidly declined. On the evening of June 10, we helped her up into the coop, as she could barely stand or walk, and put her in the nest box she liked to sleep in. We bid her goodnight, goodbye, and told her we loved her.
She was dead when I came down the following morning.
Mom and I performed necropsy, to see what was in her butt. She was filled with lash eggs, ranging from walnut-sized to softball-sized, forming in every available cavity and literally crawling their way up her digestive system. It smelled awful. We wrapped her in no less than ten layers of trash bags and buried her in the backyard with her other sisters.
Eve was perhaps one of the best chickens you could ever hope for. She is sorely missed, and survived by our last member of the original flock, Naomi, who is now adjusting to 24/7 interaction with her little sisters.