I had to kill a chicken

This evening I found the newest rooster, Manson, acting very bizarre. He was wobbly, falling over, and couldn’t keep his head up. I had Derek come take video so we could confer with the landlord/owner what to do. The verdict was grim. Put him down.

The second I read that message, I knew I had to do it. My husband, Derek, offered to do it, but I knew that this was my responsibility. I’ve never killed anything. The closest was when I watched my last gerbil die when I was young.

Rat, the gerbil, was a bitch and we didn’t like each other. However, she was my last one of four and I still cared. Her last moment of death was a convulsion that lurched her up into the air ten inches. It scared the shit out of me and possibly my mom, standing behind me. This memory became the base of my dislike for killing animals. Little did I know that I would be thinking about Rat over 20 years later, at this moment.

I picked him up out of his pen, tucked him under my arm, and carried him over to the bucket of water I had prepared in the yard. I stuck his head in the water and left it there. He fought and I had to hold tight. I cried. A lot.

I cried while I walked over to the coop. I cried while I filled the bucket of water. I cried as I put the bucket of water in the yard. I cried as I carried him over to the bucket and I’m still crying now.

He wasn’t turning out to be a particularly nice rooster, although he was quite beautiful. He’s not my favorite of the chickens but I still feel awful.

I had to do it. I had to prove to myself that I could do the unfortunate jobs associated with taking care of chickens. I’ve fancied myself as a rough and tumble chick. Roller derby, #schoolbusliving, backpacking, pooping and peeing in the woods; you know, the kinds of things “proper” girls don’t do. But then, I’m not a girl. I am a woman and a strong woman does what’s asked of her. So I did.