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Blooming-May

• African daisies
• California Poppy
• Calendula
• Calla Lily
• Narcissus
• Mexican Sage
• Ivy geranium
• Mexican Sage
• Pride of Madera
• Lantana
• Society garlic
• Wild geranium

Harvesting-May

• Baby arugula
• Onion and garlic greens
• Thyme
• Rhubarb

Tulip the Ameraucana Has Passed Away

Queen Tulip 2009-2012

Tulip, the Ameraucana, also called an Easter Egger because she lays green eggs, has been sick for six months now and passed away yesterday afternoon. She had what is called egg yolk peritonitis, also called “internal laying”. It is something that backyard hen owners struggle with because our hens provide us with eggs but are also our pets and live longer than commercial egg producers so are susceptible to organ malfunction.

Egg peritonitis is the result of an egg yolk initially moving into the abdomen rather than being “captured” by the fimbrae at the top of the oviduct. In a normal egg cycle, the ovary releases a single ovum (yolk) which is picked up by the fimbrae at the top of the oviduct. Birds have only one oviduct. The egg passes down through the oviduct picking up albumin (egg white), the egg membrane, and then the egg shell, before being passed out through the cloaca. The cloaca also has the ureters from the kidneys and the rectum passing urine and feces through the same exit point.

We knew Tulip had problems when she began laying those huge rubber eggs (shell-less eggs) several months ago. She was treated with antibiotics but showed no improvement. Oh, it was hard to watch.

Husband Don and I made a “no vet” agreement when I got the chicks but I broke down and made an appointment to see one. We never got there. Because prognosis for this disease in chickens is poor, I pretty much knew that Tulip would be euthanized. There was the possibility that the vet might suggest major surgery to remove her “egg maker” but I don’t think I would have agreed to that.

Yesterday, she stayed inside the little coop until late morning, then joined the others who were scratching around in the garden. She stretched out on her side, absorbing the sun. When I locked the other hens back in the run, I put Tulip in a little crate in the garden shed with food and water. She lay down, and never got up. By nightfall, she was dead.

We buried Tulip near Rosie who passed away two winters ago. She is no longer in pain but Husband Don and I are sad. I didn’t sleep well last night. Our original flock of six is down to three. Three really wonderful hens that are now over three years old. There will be decisions to make but I’m not in the mood to make them. Loving and caring for animals is both joyful and heartbreaking. I’m experiencing the latter now.

 

13 comments to Tulip the Ameraucana Has Passed Away

  • Maryann

    Oh Lee,
    I am so sorry for your loss. Tulip was a beautiful hen and had a wonderful life. She is at peace now, your precious girl.
    Best regards to you and Don during this time of grief.

  • Tori

    I’m so sorry for your loss! I so enjoyed watching her on the hencam and I kept hoping she’d get better and that I’d see on the egg board that she’d laid an egg. I am so sad for you and your husband, and for the other girls who have lost their friend.

  • Lee

    We are really moping around today. Even the dogs seem to pick up our sadness. Tulip was somewhat of a loner except for Poppy. Tulip stuck close to Poppy. They were kind of like “buddies”. Sweetpea and Daisy have always been best friends. Hopefully the three surviving girls will get along. I can’t bear to think about adding to the flock just now. They are out in the garden now, side by side, finding all kinds of bugs and slugs to dine on.
    Thanks so much for your good wishes.

  • Olga

    I am SO sorry…I only recently found your blog and hen cam, but already felt as though I knew your girls…and Tulip looks much like my Ameraucana, Mochi…

    Each one makes such an impact on our lives, often beyond what we expect.

  • Lesa

    Oh, so sorry for your loss, it’s never easy – we get so attached to these little girls.

  • Christina

    So sorry to read this. It’s very sad to lose an animal; I had no idea until we got chickens ourselves how personable they can be. Best wishes to you and your husband.

  • Gail

    So sorry about Tulip’s passing. It IS part of having the Girls a part of our life. But still sad. You gave her a wonderful life and she knew she was loved.
    I hope you find strength to add to the flock soon. I’m a firm believer that nothing heals a broken heart like a new baby (babies). It doesn’t diminish the love you had for Tulip. It just gives a place to put that love when you are grieving.

  • Louise

    Lee,
    I am at a loss for words. I have been checking in daily to see if there is a posting on Tulip’s health. This news saddens me, as my animals are all a huge part of our family. One of my chickens died last year suddenly. It took such a toll on my son amd I. We made a vet appiontment but she passed before we could get her there. Some of my friends couldn”t understand why it had such an impact on us, after all, they are just chickens. But to us, even my husband who trys to play tough guy, they are family. I sing to them, tell them I love them, love on them, and enjoy their company. Maybe she is at the Rainbow Bridge with Rosie, chasing bugs!!! ( and our little Hoot)

  • Carol

    Lee, I’m so sorry about Tulip. Your love for your girls is so wonderful. What a wonderful, caring life you gave her! And what joy she brought you! You have a right to grieve. When the time is right to bring in a new girl (and it eventually will be), you’ll know it. Time heals. <3

  • Tami Krebs

    This post made me so sad. I’m so sorry. I just started raising chickens this year. I have four little hens 😉 Love them so much… they really are pets.

  • Mary Keller

    I’ve seen some of those big rubber eggs from our Americaunas, but it’s been several months and they are both up and running. And then stopping to eat. And then running. They are molting now, and we have no eggs from them. Does anyone know how you discern if the lack of egg production is indicating egg peritonitis? Our Plymouth is steady on with an egg a day, so I have reached the general conclusion that these beautiful Americaunas are just not the best egg producers, but maybe I could be doing more to encourage their production?

  • Lee

    Mary,
    I also believe that Easter Eggers are not the best layers but the pretty colored are irresistible! The way I knew my hens had egg peritonitis is that the hens became listless and there was a yellow discharge from the vent that looked like the egg yolk. Good luck. I hope your hens stay healthy.

  • Lori O

    Lee,
    You have my sympathies. I hope life is starting to brighten back up for you.
    Losing one of our girls is like losing a dear pet. Non-chicken owners just cannot understand- I would have never understood how someone can become so attached to them until I met my Rooty, Carla, Irene, Ruby, and Claire.
    Carla and Irene are gone (egg peritonitis), but now we have 26 more (all named) Ameraucana girls to love.

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