Buttercup the Chicken

Our homestead experienced the ending of an age; the age of Buttercup the chicken. I love my birds and all the other animals that grace our farm. But Buttercup…. She was a special gal. I teared up at her passing…

Buttercup 2I found her yesterday hiding under a nest box. I pulled her out and immediately realized that she would part our company that night. She was old; very old. She had been experiencing quite a few spells of being egg-bound this last year. This time, she would not withstand its toll.

So, I bathed her in a warm water, Epsom salt bath. She cooed the entire time. I blew her dry with a hair dryer; she nuzzled my hand and fell asleep.

I gave her an electrolyte mix (molasses, honey, sea salt, water, apple cider vinegar and oregano oil) in her waterer and had her drink several times. She drank to appease me… She knew…

I gave her a warm place to rest in the laundry room and pet her until she fell asleep for the night.  She died sometime during the night. I am in mourning.

I know it may seem bonkers that a gal that sells poultry meat and does her own slaughter and butchering could mourn the loss of a particular bird, but I do.

I have the advantage of seeing the full cycle of life on my farm; from birth to childhood to adulthood to death. My birds live a true birdie life. This may not seem an advantage to most, but it is the reason I am able to do what I do. I couldn’t be the person who raised hatchlings from a hatchery until they were 8 weeks old and then send them off to be slaughtered by someone else. I participate in the start and the end of all aspects of my farm and somehow, for some reason, it completes me.

Buttercup, you will be greatly missed.

44 thoughts on “Buttercup the Chicken

  1. Pingback: Buttercup the Chicken — How to Provide — Site Title

  2. I’m sorry Buttercup had to leave you. It’s so hard that our animals can’t be with us all our lives. I had a chicken who broke the bottom of her beak so that it didn’t line up with the top. Our vet recommended “Shake and Bake” but I made sure she could eat. Bless her little heart…she went on laying and scratching and doing all the fun chicken things. Her name was Lucy and she was some chicken!

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  3. It can be heart-breaking. Even if we raise animals for food, they can hold a special place in our hearts. In my case, I try my hardest not to name animals unless they will be pets, and that is all. Names can hold too much meaning and give them a real identity. So Having to turn a blind eye on the rest, some days are harder than others. I have even been attached to a rooster that I rescued. Sometimes they seem to know when we are trying to help them. Even a usually aggressive, or ‘flighty’ type bird seem to calm down and put up with your tending when you try to help. It’s best to remember the happy memories.

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  4. It’s sad when a loved pet leaves our world. We have buried three hens who lived their lives as Buttercup did. Grandsons wrote loving messages and picked flowers to put in the graves under the trees where they loved to scratch. They then covered the earth with branches and leaves and marked the spot with a wooden cross.

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  5. Not bonkers at all. So sorry for your loss. I think it does indeed sound a privilege to be part of a whole life cycle of these animals and be giving them such a good life too – it sounds like Buttercup was so happy and especially on her last night. Thinking of you.

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  6. Reminds me of my time in Guinea, West Africa, and where I first learned how to kill and clean a chicken. The adventure involved in getting a chicken “on the table,” made it a very special occasion. In my remote location, the small village Korbe, I’d have to walk around the widely scattered village in search of chickens and then find out if they had one for sale. This could be a few hours. Then carry it home by the legs, sometimes squawking, then the killing and cleaning and cooking, and only then the savouring of that really rare treat! I’ve long felt that if one is going to eat meat one should have watched/participated in the killing of the live animal at least once!

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  7. I totally totally get this and I know you are probably still missing her. We lost two of our first gals last year and there will always be a duck-sized hole in my heart where Gladys used to live. So very sorry–big hug!!!


  8. I can relate really well. I have had several hens that I have become very fond of and mourned their passing. I enjoy my “girls” and they each have a unique personality and likes and dislikes.
    Thanks for sharing your experience.

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  9. Born and raised farm gal myself and it still hurts when you have to put one down after trying so hard to keep them alive. It also hurts to see any animal (or person) suffering. I would rather put them out of their pain, then watch them needlessly hurt so much. Love your article!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. It is difficult for those who do not raise animals for meat to understand; but when you see what a natural death entails, you are much more comfortable with deciding when an animal should die because you get to decide how the animal is to die.


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