Farewell to Legolas, One of The Best Chickens

I suppose I have to write about the sad fate of Legolas. I gave her a very good shot at recovery from her paralysis but she just didn’t get any better. She had so little range of movement that I had to help her eat and drink multiple times a day and move her out of the way of her own poop. She was still reasonably perky and enjoyed the attention I gave her, which was the hard thing. I kept hoping, day after day, that her legs would just regain movement, but they didn’t. I have read that with Marek’s there is transient paralysis, from which the bird recovers in a few days, like Jane, and there is more serious paralysis, from which the bird hardly ever recovers. It was horrible to see my adventurous, curious Legolas reduced to an immobile chicken in a cage. And so I had to put her out of her misery. I did it myself. I felt like I had to, like I owed it to her to be there with her at the end, even though I really, REALLY didn’t want to. I wanted to run back to the house and get The Husband to do it for me, but I spoke sternly to myself. I sat in a chair in the garage with Legolas and let her last moments be alone with the human she trusted. It was horrible but at the same time I’m glad I was strong enough to give her the best ending I could. It was bad for me but it was good for her. Then I went back inside, hands shaking and trying to fight the tears as I blabbed to The Husband, “Can you dig a hole for me?”

I don’t know what’s worse; having a chicken deteriorate rapidly and die or having a chicken who looks well but doesn’t heal.

And so, let’s take a moment to reflect on Legolas as she was. She was one of the best chickens. She was the chicken I have had the best relationship with. She was so friendly and curious. She loved eating out of my hand and she was a joy to handle and treat for anything. If only they could all be so easy and chilled out. She made a soft honking noise before she laid her egg and when Elrond, the last rooster, used to crow she would reply straight after with a soft honk: “Cock-a-DOOdle!” “Honk.” She was a good leader and I never saw her scrap with Frodo when they were deciding who would be the boss, however, she did put the youngies in their place so they learnt to respect her from early on. She was pretty, lovely, always up to something and hardy until she got paralysed.

Legolas decides, “I think I’ll be the new boss.”
Legolas showed those youngies a thing or two.

Now I am left with just Australorps or almost-Australorps. I would like a Barred Rock or two again as their personalities are great, but I haven’t had a good track record with the ones I bought in. Whether it’s a fluke or something genetic I don’t know, but they were all from the same place. There is a small ray of hope though. As I type, Frodo sits on three of Legolas’ eggs, plus some of her own. I would dearly love a daughter of Legolas, so a part of her can live on, but three is a small number, so we shall have to wait and see…

Farewell, dear Legolas.

9 thoughts on “Farewell to Legolas, One of The Best Chickens

  1. Oh no! How awful! Legolas was such a wonderful little bird! I just read your other post (out of order so finding out she was sick was such a shock!). I hope her eggs hatch into pretty little girls!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Yeah, it was such a shock going from thinking she was my toughest bird, to finding her limping and then losing all leg control. I kept thinking she would get better because she was so hardy up until then and didn’t look on death’s door. Marek’s is a thing of horrible uncertainty. I was just thinking back to Strider, my first Barred Rock, and although I was away at the time she died I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Marek’s-related as she did have the limping episode a bit before that, which I assumed at the time was an injury that got better after a few days’ rest. So I’ve probably had Marek’s from the beginning, either arriving with my original chickens or already in the environment. At least it explains things. I’m hoping I can fight it with sheer numbers of tough little feather babies! Thank goodness I wound up breeding from Frodo, who has turned out to be the toughest. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Here in the US, there is a vaccination you can give them to help prevent Marek’s in chicks. I am not sure how it would work with an older flock. I hope no one else succumbs to it.

        Doing the math here, but is Frodo the only one left of your original flock?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, Frodo is the sole survivor of the original three. She may have originally been my least favourite but she has proved herself with her toughness and reliability. 🙂 Even if her constant broodiness does drive me mad sometimes, at least I know it’s coming. 😛
          Unfortunately, the Marek’s vaccine is unfeasible to small flock owners and even heritage breeders here as you can only get it in lots of 1000 and it has to be used within 2 hours. So it’s pretty much just the big commercial laying flocks that get vaccinated. NZ is a little bit isolated when it comes to many things poultry!

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Julie. It’s pretty weird without her as she was always up to something. Although, Mr Bingley and Lydia did an ode to Legolas this morning by somehow escaping into the vege garden!


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