Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Rule For Old Birds



I have a strict rule on the field
Old birds are never culled, they are retired and cared for until they die away naturally.
Sick animals are treated and culled if necessary.
But generally after their 'production' time is over, the birds are allowed to have a couple of years respite with their faces in the sun until they shuffle off this mortal coil.
Sun! I have almost forgotten what sunny days are like.
Yesterday was a wild, wet and stormy day, it was a day when the weather seemed to cut right through you, and twice during my rounds I found the bodies of two pensioners tucked away in the hedgerow.
An ancient buff ( above) had disappeared off and away from the others before she had collapsed as did Theresa the knackered old one eyed turkey, who had wandered off just before locking up 
I wasn't sad at all at the findings for winter weather is the equivalent of the ice flows for Eskimos , it culls out the old.
The bodies, I moved to the local Badger sett. At least they would enjoy a good meal during the night and when I thought about it all, the more I felt that the Eskimos had the right idea.....
When my time comes, before I have to rely on some uninterested carer in a urine smelling retirement home to wipe my arse, I think I would like to have the opportunity to wander away in the rain to lay down under a hawthorn hedge and have a final chance to look at the sky.
Then the badgers could stuff their fat faces on me for a month

66 comments:

  1. The undergrowth for hens, and Beachy Head for humans.

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    1. Whilst I generally agree with your sentiment, Cro Magnon, I know - for a fact - that half way down that steep fall I will change my mind. Then what? Those are the times I wish I were a cartoon character (say 'Roadrunner' or "Tom and Jerry"). For them there is always a point of return.

      U

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  2. ah - poor old girl, but at least you gave her some life. My hens always lived out their natural lives too, I've taken them to the vets for treatment along with ducks and a goat once ! none of my animals ever entered the food chain.
    Bless you

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  3. I always wanted to be left to the vultures, so I guess it's Nevada for me in my old age.

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  4. Sad when the old ones go...but I agree with the concept of wandering off when our time is come...

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  5. My dear John, you have excelled yourself (if that were possible). This piece is so poetic, both in thought and execution.

    Let them, and may you, RIP; the odd empty eye socket not withstanding,

    U

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    1. Thank you Ursula.... You are still mad as a badger x

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  6. Letting the old birds enjoy the sun... boysoboys I wanna be an old bird at your Home.

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    1. You're an old bird at YOUR home x

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  7. Beautiful meditation on easing away. I want to be planted, sans box, with an acorn in my hand.

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    1. The size of my gob and I could take a coconut with me

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  8. We jokingly called our little farm a critter retirement home ... looks like yours is as well. We all should be so lucky....

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  9. All in your care always have the best; I know where to go in my last days on this Earth.

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  10. Hello :) I found you through the "Reintroduce Myself" blogfest (though I'm a day late...)

    I adore this post - there is a lot of love in it. Or at least compassion. I've always wanted a small farm to take in sick animals and give them all I could in their last times. I appreciate so much that you do.

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  11. I always fancied myself being slightly pissed and finally hooking into that magnificent Marlin, being tugged over board and watching my boat chug away towards Brazil on a quarter throttle and think, 'Ah well, that's it!'

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    1. Me thinks you will die in a hail of gunfire my good man

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    2. That's good too. Far better than an obituary that reads, 'died of liver failure'.

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  12. I think I would still prefer a nice comfy bed to die in, preferably in my sleep. I think it's lovely that your critters get to enjoy a 'retirement' before they move on.

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    1. Chris always said I was too soft

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  13. Even though I have been reading your blog for a couple of years now, I still am blown away by your insight and compassion.

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  14. The coyotes or bears will get me.Dead or alive.
    Jane x

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    1. That's the Wild West spirit

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  15. But not in the rain and the cold. I'll take a sunny day and warm grass. Badgers have to eat in summer, too.

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  16. Giving the birds a little time to enjoy their final days, what a kind thought...
    No nursing or retirement home for me either, no....off to the woods and lay in the Bluebells beneath a mossy bank, just like Peter Rabbit.
    ~Jo

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  17. Hi John. There are no happy Hollywood film endings for most folk and their animals. Makes you wonder what's the point of it all, then you see a new born calf, pig or chick and you realise it's all part of the cycle. I hope there is an Heaven and all our pets and smallholding pals go there. Can tell you can take a pulse John. You always have your finger on it!

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    1. Dunno bout that Dave....just feel a bit melancholy today that's all

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  18. Thank you King Lear...

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    1. You are welcome Lisa Minnelli

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    2. That's Liza with a Z darling!!!!!!!

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    3. You would know sweetie

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  19. My old hens also are allowed to turn up their toes in peace. I will eat an injured one, as I believe that is the kindest thing to do. The roosters who hatch out and make it to size have to face the guillotine, however. My old rooster will be allowed to quietly fade away, as he has more than earned special consideration.

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    1. Nice to hear from you old mama
      We have three roosters in the freezer
      Chris won't eat them

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    2. And Chris says YOU'RE soft?????? ha!!!

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  20. Yes John we let all our old dears die naturally - after all they have given us eggs haven't they? I must say that this cold spell has finished one or two off and we put them out for the foxes - they have always disappeared by morning.

    Agree with what you say too. My first husband always said that what he really wanted when he died was to be put out for the crows to peck at. Of course we couldn't do that but my son and I agreed that burial was the nearest we could get rather than cremation.

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  21. Come off it Earl! Chris will be pushing you around in a bath chair when your days are numbered. For a special treat he will sometimes take you into Rhyl to see the sights that have enriched your youth as he occasionally wipes the drool away from your sagging chin.

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  22. The birds in your care live a good life and a good death.
    To curl up somewhere special, just go sleep and never wake is sadly not a choice we have but bless the old buff and Theresa who quietly did just that.

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    1. With your talent..perhaps a poem about them would be order of the day

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  23. Sweet as usual.

    We have a crusty old law enforcement lieutenant ay my work office who keeps chickens. His hens are getting up there in years and I asked him from the back of the office as he was walking towards the front of the office if he was going to cull them and start anew. He waited until he got all the way to the front of the building and then he turned around and yelled "Hell No! I'm a chicken pacifist!" It will be the thing I remember about him most because it was freaking funny.

    My spouse has asked that he be composted. I'm not sure how I'm going to carry out that wish when it comes time...but it will make for an interesting discussion with the authorities and with the farmers market regulars when they ask what my secret is growing tomatoes.

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  24. Your turkey died and you never mentioned it till now?

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    1. She died last night sparrow x

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  25. A beautiful piece on your oldies, John. I'm sorry you lost two of them; may they RIP. I wouldn't make a successful farmer: I've just decreased my chicken population on the yard (here in Tanzania), giving the scrawny, African chooks to a lady who sells eggs in town. I kept a cripple hen, called Magoo Moja (Peg leg) her friend (who protects her from the others' pecking)and whom I hand-feed; a glorious rooster and four fat hens. Our 13-year-old cat back home in SA went missing ten days ago. No amount of searching has been successful. Grant is terribly upset about it but I say she's gone off to die, and I believe she has. *Sigh* Why do we love the creatures so? Hope you warm up soon. Jo

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  26. The winter weather is cruel to old birds. I hope you get some sunny days soon so that you all can feel the sun on your faces again. XXX

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  27. My hubby and I often discussed walking out into the snow when the time came (not that we have snow here). Unfortunately, he is now in that retirement home you mention with dementia - NOT the way he (or any of us) would like to go.

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    1. I hope you were not too upset by my glibness x

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  28. So sorry to hear Teresa has died after all your hard work and love. It's lovely to hear how much care you give to your animals and how well they're cared for. It's a great way to mark the cycle of life and the badgers will really appreciate your gift.

    Hope the rest of you are doing well. xx

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  29. Sorry to hear about Theresa and the ancient buff, but i, too, think they have the right idea to go off and wait for death when they know the time is near. We discussed this very thing in my knitting group not long ago. One friend told us her plan of going to her favourite spot, taking a bottle of rum, and waiting.

    Grace went off when it was her time to go. I'd like to go in my sleep.

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  30. I hope I pop off long before I'm in need of a smelly and stultifying retirement home. It would be a fate worse than death.

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  31. My hubby wants chickens someday but I remind him that they will not EVER be eaten and will live to old age. He now pictures a bunch of old, crippled hens walking around our yard. I share your compassion, John.

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  32. Good on ya, John the dogs. I wish for you a sunny day when the time comes...

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  33. A nice way to go. Not quite sure about the badgers tucking in though.

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  34. Ah, I'm sorry Theresa has gone to the great coop in the sky. But what a lovely life you gave her. Part of the great cycle of life and all that blather. But still sad when they go. I'm hoping to get run over by a bus and be gone in a flash, no lingering, daft and dribbling and smelling faintly of wee.

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    1. I will skip the bus Julie,
      I prefer something more poetic
      Tee hee

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  35. I mentioned this rule for old birds to H.I., and she made some clucking noises.

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  36. Hail and Farewell to these two old birds.
    The sun seems to have disappeared here on the East Coast of the US too.

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  37. (sigh) How romantic! Then again, I guess it's no worse than what our son said about me... he thought they should stuff me and keep me around as the resident couch potato...

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  38. Aha, you just wrote about my impending doom. Thank you for that and with that I shall attempt to piddle in my pants...Good day or something like that.

    Gary

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  39. Oh dear, I didn't know the turkey had died too -
    xxx

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  40. Sometimes my dear old aged mother is jolly lucky there are no ice flows around here. Nah just joking! And I'll have you know that I have never ever once locked her outside when it's been cold and raining. Not even by accident.
    When my time comes I'll be hitching a ride to Antartica with the fowls on the nearest ice flow. RIP little chooks.

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  41. Wandering off into the wilds to end it is my plan B. For now, I will enjoy plan A and hope she and I can live out our lives with no uncalled for interruptions. Should I go before her, that's okay.

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  42. So sad and sweet...
    Els from Amsterdam

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