• Clare Shearman

In honour of Clover and friendship


We are sad to advise of the death of Clover one of our four chickens. Clover had been getting slower and increasingly lethargic over the last couple of weeks and was unable to move very quickly. On Thursday evening, just before lockdown, we had a co-parenting meeting with the friends we share the care of the girls with, to discuss what to do.


There was talk of taking her to the vet, of doing the kind thing for her by ending her life. Who and how we could do that was also discussed. We found some on-line articles about palliative care for chickens (thank goodness) which led us to assess that she was not in any obvious destress and that we could allow nature to take its course.


We made her comfy on a bed of straw in the coop overnight, she was still with us on Friday morning. We said our goodbyes and by lunch time she had died.


Sunshine and Bluey were out and about free-ranging around the garden as soon as we opened the coop to lay Clover to rest. Snowy, however, was not. Snowy remained where she had been since the morning, in the nesting box close by, observing Clover’s body and for the next few hours that's where she stayed.


I had a conversation with her about grief. About how sad she must be, about how sad we all were, and I wondered in awe about what was happening.


Artie went to see her with her favourite treat a few hours later and even that, waved under her nose, did not move her.


In her book “How to Speak Chicken” Melissa Caughey says when a hen is dying “other members of the flock visit, one by one or a couple at a time. They seem sad… their coos are quiet, soft muttering… some sit with the dying chicken… It is not uncommon for those who were closest to her to mourn the loss of their friend… A grieving hen avoids interacting with the flock and sits in a corner. Some mourn only temporarily, but others never seem to recover.”


My heart is filled with love for the friendship Snowy had for her sister Clover and the tenderness she showed as Clover died. I am pleased to report, 24 hours later, that Snowy has left her vigil and seems to be returning to her old self.


RIP Clover, know you are missed.

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