Jasmine was rescued from someone who was planning to eat her and her family. But when she had deformed toes they brought her to us to help. After a week in the hospital with our avian expert, her toes were fine and we were able to bring her to The Gentle Barn to live with us.
At only a week old, she was far too young to be in the barnyard by herself so Jay, Cheyanne, and I raised her in the house with us. She slept in her bed, rode with us in the car, sat on our laps while we watched TV, came running when we called her, ate meals with the dogs in the kitchen, and I even had a bedtime ritual for her where I sang to her and held her until she fell asleep.
When she had all her adult feathers I brought her to the barnyard to make friends under the watchful eye of our volunteers, for longer and longer periods each day. I would come to get her in the evenings and would tell her that when she was ready to be a big girl chicken and live in the barnyard, she should let me know.
Six months later, I went to pick her up from "chicken Kindergarten" and I could not find her anywhere. She was usually in front of the barnyard gate waiting for me. I searched everywhere and finally found her in the chicken room asleep next to her friends. I woke her up and asked if she wanted to come with me back to the house and she said, "Mooooooom, I'm with my friends". I touched her feet to make sure she was warm, and her crop to make sure she had eaten dinner and again she said, "Mooooooom I'm with my friends." So I left her there and walked back to the house alone, crying, proud and sad at the same time that my baby had grown up. I felt the same way a year later when my daughter went off to college and we left her at her dorm for the first time.
Six years later, we noticed in our monthly chicken checks that Jasmine had lost weight. We had our veterinarian come out to do an ultrasound and a CT scan and found that she had fluid in her abdomen and issues with her reproductive tract. She had surgery to see the extent of the damage and remove the fluid. The vet found at least five eggs inside her, her liver was completely green instead of pink, the necrotic egg was stuck to her organs, and it was the worst case she had ever seen. Try as she might, Jasmine did not survive surgery and left us grieving and missing her.
The original chicken was designed to lay seven eggs a year, just like any wild bird. Today's chickens are genetically engineered to lay two or three eggs a day. By the time they are middle-aged, their uteri either rupture, get egg bound, or develop cancer. Had she not been tampered by the egg industry, Jasmine would have lived another five to seven years! I would have given anything for more time with her!
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