Puja for Mymble

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Mymble wasn’t well for about a week. We noticed she didn’t seem her normal self – she was always first up and out of the coop – or if not there was an argument at the coop door with her and Astrid fighting for the exit. But Tuesday and Wednesday she was slower to come out. Then she had some watery droppings on Thursday. And on Friday she seemed to not be eating much and seemed very lethargic.

Concerned for her – and the rest of our tiny flock – we got her inside on Sunday, when I was off, and she spent Sunday through Tuesday indoors. She’d always seemed quite interested in “indoors”, occasionally trying to follow us through the door… she was just a friendly and curious chicken.

When we cleaned the coop she’d pop up behind us straining her neck to see what we were doing, and sometimes – somewhat inconveniently – she’d fly up and perch right in the way on the removable board that stops the shavings escaping. Or hop up on their sleep perch right in the way of us trying to remove the droppings.

She was no doubt the absolute head of the flock. Top of the pecking order, which she enforced with no lack of vigor. Threats to her leadership weren’t tolerated at all. But unlike the others she was sometimes easy to catch – dropping to a submissive pose and letting us scoop her up. Only if she was in the mood, though.

Other times she’d not be in the mood and she’d lead the other chickens and us on a merry chase to try and catch her.

She’d bask on her side in the sun – letting the rays warm her wings.


We tried to help her these last few days. We had an appointment this morning at the vet’s, the earliest we could get her in to any local vet. We didn’t think, weak as she clearly was, that we’d make it to the vets up in Seattle that have emergency appointments. Last time we took her anywhere – which was when we got her from just a few streets away, the entire journey was angst and flapping and annoyance.

Because none of them had ever really been sick before we’d never got any of the chooks registered with a vet, so emergency appointments are apparently not a thing for unregistered-with-vet-animals.

So we gave her electrolites and water, and kept her warmer inside. She stopped eating on Monday. On Tuesday all she took in, as far as I can tell, was the water that I syringe-dropped into her beak. I gave her some strokes, which she didn’t seem to mind, and talked to her some.

And we woke this morning to find she’d passed. We’ll hopefully get answers from an autopsy, but the vet suggested the constellation of symptoms could well signify a cancer. Apparently that’s actually pretty common even in relatively young chickens.

I hope that she didn’t suffer too much those last few days and hours.

On her final journey with us – I followed my mum’s suggestion and performed a puja. I’ve never done a puja for a chicken before.

Aniccā vata saṅkhārā,
Uppajjitvā nirujjhanti
tesaṃ vupasamo sukho

Impermanent alas are formations,
subject to rise and fall.
Having arisen, they cease;
their subsiding is bliss.

It’s not for me. It’s for Mymble’s next birth. But all the same I found it very comforting.

Safe flights mymble, and I hope you get all the corn you desire.


Kate's a human mostly built out of spite and overcoming transphobia-racism-and-other-bullshit. Although increasingly right-wing bigots would say otherwise. So she's either a human or a lizard in disguise sent to destroy all of humanity. Either way, it's all good.