On Wednesday morning we had to say goodbye to our sweet hen, Agent Carter. Back in March she was given a cancer diagnosis with her only options being potential surgery she might not survive or palliative care. We decided not to put her through surgery and instead tried our best to make her as comfortable as possible.
As someone who believes in natural alternatives, I began giving her supplements to boost her immune system and help her get rid of excess fluid. These did help and I definitely contribute her longer life to these supplements.
Unfortunately, this past Wednesday morning she was at a point where she could no longer stand up and my husband and I had to make the tough call to our vet. As we sat heartbroken on the steps of the vet’s office waiting for the drugs to kick in, I couldn’t help but think what a blessing our sweet Agent Carter had been to us.
We purchased her and her five sisters as chicks from Tractor Supply in April 2015. When they grew up, we placed different colored zip ties on each one to be able to tell them apart – she wore the pink one. Just a year and a half later she would be the only one left of the original batch we purchased as we lost several to coon attacks and illness.
It was hard not to fall in love with Carter. She was so friendly, especially for her White Leghorn breed which is typically quite flighty. She was patient with us when we needed to tend to her bumble foot, never flinching or squirming. I trusted her around guests and children that she would never peck them or be mean. She was a wonderful leader of her flock – always patient, only correcting when warranted. I knew we could introduce new hens to the flock and she would allow them their space and not bully them.
Back in the fall of 2016 we had to put our Easter Egger hen, Peggy, to sleep because she had contracted a severe form of E. Coli that several others in our flock had passed away from. Our vet advised us to either have the whole flock euthanized and start over again in the spring after the winter freeze had killed off the bacteria in the coop and ground, or scrub the coop and everything down with bleach but even that was not guaranteed to kill it. I knew without a doubt there was no way I could say goodbye to Carter, so, out to the coop with bleach and scrub brushes we went…for a whole day. My next decision was to purchase high quality organic feed for them, no matter the cost. After all, it didn’t make sense to go to all that trouble and go back to feeding them the low quality stuff.
The rest is, as they say, history… So, thank you Agent Carter. Thank you for teaching me what it looks like to be a leader. Thank you for removing all my preconceived notions about chickens just being “dumb birds” that lay eggs. Thank you for challenging me and helping me find a passion I didn’t think I could ever have. Thank you and goodbye my sweet girl… You will forever be in our hearts.