Goodbye Janet

Janet passed away in my arms at 11:20pm on Thursday, September 6, 2012 after a fast-moving illness that didn’t respond to treatment. She was a rescued hen who came to us in July 2010.

Janet actually wasn’t our chicken, she was Olly Astro’s chicken. When we agreed to take in Olly Astro, we arrived at the vet to find Olly had a friend. (Homeless chickens always have friends so you should never trust them to show up anywhere alone.)

We didn’t want to separate these two friends, so we brought them both home to join Olivia, our only other hen at the time.

From the moment Janet arrived, she was a little bit of a weirdo, in the best way. She just really knew how to be herself and not care what anyone else thought about it. She went her own way and did her own thing, and enjoyed every minute of it. She was kind of a laid back hippie chick.

I always tell the new rescues to pick their own names, and then usually at night their name comes to me. When Janet’s name came to me, I talked to her the next morning and said “that’s kind of an odd name for a chicken. Why don’t you sleep on it one more night.” I thought it was a dumb name. But sure enough, the next day I woke up and it still seemed like her name was Janet, so I let her keep the name.

Each hen has their own distinct voice, and Janet’s cluck had a rhythm to it that reminded me of the song “I Gotta Be Me” by Sammy Davis, Jr. She’d say “guuh guhga ga guuuuuh” all the time to me, and I’d sing “I gotta be meeeeee” back to her, which I’m sure my neighbors appreciated. It was such an odd song but it sure seemed to fit Janet’s personality, and she sang it all the time.

janet and carol
Janet was well-liked in the yard, by all the ducks and clucks. Here Carol preens her face for her, which is pretty amazing if you know Carol.

jan jan
Jan Jan didn’t sit on my lap much or peck at me to pet her face or hound me for treats, she just did her own thing and was a good, good chicken.

Of all the chickens, Janet had the most beautiful feathers. They were just the richest, thickest, furriest-looking feathers of anyone in the yard, which was kind of surprising since Janet had her share of health problems in her life.

go her own
Janet was always in the aviary when I needed her to be, was nearly always kind to all the other hens and rescues, and was basically an easy-going hen who enjoyed life to the fullest.

Because she did have some health problems, she learned to trust me pretty well over the past two years. I had to wash off her backside at least once a week, and she learned pretty quickly that while it was scary, it would make her more comfortable and keep her happy.

Her trust in me was very helpful over the past week as her health faded fast. She was having neurological problems and balance problems and tremors or seizures, but because she felt safe, she didn’t really seem to mind. That made my life so much easier to know that she was comfortable and care free, even in her illness.

She took well to her make-shift hospital bed and was calm and peaceful even while losing her ability to balance and move.

In the past week we spent hours together, just talking and snoozing. I helped keep her head from spasming by holding it for her so she could eat and drink better. All the while trying to treat her and find a solution with the vets to help her improve.

She perked up briefly after a morning visit to the vet yesterday to get some fluids, but by evening I could tell she was on her way out. I let her be alone in her crate for a while but she called out to me a few times, so I placed her on my chest and she rested peacefully for a while. Then her breathing started to shift and change, and I just knew she didn’t have much more time here. At her very last breath, she woke up for one moment and flapped her wings once as she left her body and was… gone.

It’s never easy to say goodbye to a feathered kid, but honestly, it’s definitely easier when they make it easy on me. And Janet did that very well. She didn’t fuss and she wasn’t stressed out. She wasn’t scared and she didn’t fight any treatment. She was just Janet, the happy-go-lucky, laid back hen.

I am definitely going to miss her in the yard. Not everyone is as easygoing as Janet was, so her calm demeanor and peaceful attitude will definitely be missed. But apparently it was her time to go, and I wish her safe travels to whatever’s next, and thank her for all her wonderful time here with us.

Rest in peace, Jan Jan. I love you.

07. September 2012 by Silly Human
Categories: Sad Endings | 19 comments

Comments (19)

  1. I’m so sorry. That was a beautiful thing you did for her, as she passed.

    Rest well, Hippie Janet. Go find Sammy and sing with him. XXOO

  2. Rest well Janet. It was wonderful knowing you. <3

  3. You are such a beautiful person. I loved Janet’s story. I too have had many pigeons pass in this way and it is sad but I feel so grateful to be there in the end. I know you will miss Janet and so will I from a distance.

  4. Bless her heart- and you also Tiff- She had a very good life, thanks to you, and no doubt, she is smiling and clucking down on you!!

  5. Janet was one of the most laid back birds of all the birds I have known via Facebook. I will miss your posts about her sometimes silliness, and sometimes seriousness a lot! May she rest in peace, and may you know that you did everything you could to make her last few days on Earth as enjoyable and painfree as is humanly possible!

  6. That was a great eulogy for a wonderful, unique girl. We should all be so lucky to have a pal like you to remember us.

  7. She was such a beautiful girl. Thanks for allowing us to know her through your words and photos.

  8. Thanks for shareing Janet with us. I know it is hard on you.

  9. Tiff, this is a beautiful tribute to Janet, one she deserved.
    It is of course very sad that her time was up and you are grieving, but the undertone is gratitude and peace.
    A remarkable hen, a beautiful girl, she will be missed.
    Rest in peas, Janet.

  10. Thank you for caring for Janet and sharing her story.

  11. Tiff, I am so, so sorry. I mainly lurk on your blog, but I have learned so much from you about the individual personalities of the “ducks and clucks” that cohabitate with you, and I want to thank you for teaching me so much. Janet was a lovely chicken-lady and you were lucky to know each other.

  12. Im so sorry for your loss. Sounds like she had a wonderful life though! She reminds me of my hen(a RIR) Scarlet. She was such a sweet laid back girl who loved to lay in my arms and have her belly rubbed(she would fall asleep like that) I miss Scarlet 🙁

  13. Our beautiful red hen, Ruby, died Friday – just the day after Janet. Ruby was a happy feisty girl and we enjoyed her very much, as you did Janet. I hope they are together in a lovely field of soft grass that’s full of hopping grasshoppers; then I hope there’s a nice dusty spot in the sun where they can do a dust bath and spread their feathers in the warmth. Rest in peace – and fun – little girls; we miss you.

  14. You write the most wonderful tributes. All of the little lives you care for are better for it. What a fantastic job you do. Much love <3

  15. Gosh, we will miss our little Janet. so glad you were with her when she passed on. She had a great life with you Tif.

  16. So sorry to hear she has gone. She was a good chicken.

  17. So sorry. She was beautiful.

  18. Jeeze, Tiff, I’m behind on things here. I can’t tell you how sorry I am about Janet’s death. Being an old hippie chick myself, Janet had a special place in my heart, but mostly I recognize you’ve lost a treasure member of your family and for that I offer my most sincere condolences.

  19. I am so glad Janet found you! (And of course, I’m happy you found Janet!) I really appreciate your sharing the lives of your little beings with others. And I think I always cry when I read on your blog about one of those beings’ time ending, on this planet . . . maybe because I’ve just had so many of my OWN little being-friends, who have passed on. I’m ENORMOUSLY grateful that you have given them so much time, care, and love. And you really do a great job of sharing, on your blog. I appreciate it. Don’t think I’ll have any more feathered friends living with me during MY lifetime here, so I am extra-happy to be able to share parts of your life, in this way. Thank you.

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