My Lovely Henrietta


I lost my dearest hen and the leader of my flock Sunday night. My lovely Henrietta passed away quite suddenly. She was her usual cheery self all day Sunday until I saw her standing to the side when I served my flock a pan of frozen blueberries and water early Sunday evening. She looked a little stunned, and did not come over to eat. However when I offered her the blueberries, she took a couple. I watched her for a while and decided she might be a bit dehydrated because it was rather hot. Sometimes she forgets to go inside the coop for drinks of cool water. So I put her in a crate in the basement with water and electrolytes. I checked on her around dusk and she was just standing in the crate. I got her to drink some water, and gave her a small bit of Meloxicam because my hubby thought she might have been stung by a bee. He found one crawling in the yard. She was also having watery diarrhea. Her comb was still bright red, and she did not seem very sick, just off a bit. So I decided to leave her for the night and take her to the vet in the morning if she was presenting the same symptoms. My husband got up at 6:30 to check on her, and found her dead in the crate. She had laid a soft shell egg, and had vomited. I fear she suffered, however briefly. I had always imagined that I would hold Henrietta in my arms when her time came, and be able to say a proper goodbye. Instead I was sleeping and she was alone in the dark. I have wept for days and have had terrible feelings of guilt that I was not there for her. I know that I was a good chicken momma to Henrietta, and that she had a good life, but it does not take away the feelings of grief and loss in suddenly losing a hen who was loving every minute of her life, and seemingly in very good health. Henrietta has been my teacher. She has taught me a lot of lessons. Perhaps this last lesson is that I too should treasure every moment, enjoy the sunlight and good food with gusto, and accept the final moment when it comes.

If you wish, please comment below. I enjoy reading your comments!

4 thoughts on “My Lovely Henrietta

  1. Your Henrietta looks just like my Gracie in that photo. Same style of leadership too…quiet confidence, gentle but firm steering in the right direction. Chickens can teach us so much, and your Henrietta was a great teacher. They give us eggs to nourish our bodies and delightful moments to nourish our hearts. Henrietta was truly loved, and she returned that love abundantly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! This means so much to me. I always felt that my Henrietta was just like your Gracie. I too have considered making Henrietta the main character in a picture book for children in which she teaches life lessons. We have learned so much from our feathered friends! I think this is the path to saving the earth: in which people come to recognize that animals are not ours to dominate, but friends to teach us. May it be so. I hope someday I can get the reassurance spiritually that Henrietta did indeed love me and is nearby still, helping my small flock in their day to day trials and tribulations.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This may help you as it has helped me.

        I tell my chickens they are in the very last verse of the very last chapter of the most read book of the Bible. It’s Psalm 150:5 “Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.” That catches their attention for sure!

        So, of course after I read it to them, they will tell me, “That doesn’t say the word ‘chicken’ in it.”

        To which I reply, “But it does say ‘everything that has breath,’ and you have breath, don’t you?” Well, they can’t argue with that! So it is time to cackle and cluck away!

        But the point is, I guess, is that the Bible wouldn’t say that if voices would one day be silent, never to give praise again.

        As a companion to that, Revelation 21:5 says “Behold, I make all things new.” For me, “all things” includes chickens.

        Now I don’t want to stretch scriptures to mean what they don’t mean just to make myself feel better for a time, but these things do give me hope.

        God cares about all of His creation including those animals he has entrusted to our care.

        Liked by 1 person

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