Devastating news today as I lost my best friend my little Girl BBQ. She had been ill for a long time and had recovered and was full of energy. BBQ was about 80% blind and while she was playing in the garden, she picked up a large stone thinking it was a snail shell and swallowed it before I could get to her. She couldn’t pass it due to her illness and couldn’t get it out, and after a day she passed in my arms.
BBQ or Barbledeecue was my special little fluffball, all she wanted was to be with me getting her cuddles and being at the bottom of pecking order she always stayed close to me to keep her safe and as she was mostly blind, I hand feed and watered her every day for 4 years to make sure she always had enough as the others would bully her not letting her at the food when we wanted it. BBQ had moved into the living room for the past year and every night we cuddled in on the settee to watch our Movies and TV shows, and every night at bedtime I would get my hug where she would try to get under my jumper before snuggling in with teddy for the night.
BBQ was one of our lottery win girl as we got her with Gravy and Tikka with £30 we won on the lottery on the 29th of August 2015.
When we first for BBQ it was quite a while before she would trust me. She didn’t like being picked up and having her feed dangling, so when I picked BBQ up, I had to let her perch on my arm. But all that changed one day when I was sitting on the steps at our old home in Cumbria and little BBQ just came up to me as sat down next to me cuddling into my leg. From that day on we have been inseparable.
As BBQ was at the bottom of the pecking order, she was picked on by the others and she would run over to me for protection, and I would scoop her up for a cuddle and treat. During the day when I was at work, she would get a little rest from the other girls attacking her as where we lived at access to two areas and she like Gravy would not climb up the steps on the wall with all the other leaving her on her own waiting for the others to come back for the afternoon sunbathing session on the grass.
After the Flooding that submerged the girls chicken coop, all the girls were moved into the conservatory where we let the girls choose their own places to sleep and the Boss of the flock, Bisto let little BBQ sleep with her on her private box. Bisto also looked after BBQ stopping the others from attacking her by slapping them with her huge and powerful wings.
It was after this time we knottiest that as BBQ was running over to me that she as tilting her head at an odd angle as she ran over. When we had a closer look, we could see that inside her left eye was gone and here right eyes pupil was about the size of a pinhead. Little BBQ was blind on her left and about 85% blind in her right. We asked the vet and she said that as she was in no pain that she would be ok and that it was most likely an infection that she got as a chick.
After this BBQ and I were even closer as to make sure she got all the food and water she needed I would give her it by hand. I continued every day in some form or another for the 4 years of the rest of her life.
A few months after this we had to temporarily move to a new house to Aberdeenshire, during this time we lost BBQs protector Bisto. Things didn’t go well for BBQ as all the other would peck her when I was not there and as a result BBQ went bold form where they would peck her head and no matter the weather they would not let her in the coop at night and if I was running late she would jump up to the top of the coop and sit on roof, and I would have to put her to bed individually (after a cuddle under my jacket or on my shoulder).
Thankfully after two temporarily moves for the girls in Aberdeenshire we moved down to the Falkirk area where I was unrestricted in the time I could spend with BBQ and other girls. And little BBQ was still the happiest girls as no matter the season she was no matter if the others stopped she would always lay me an egg.
Every morning BBQ would come over to the shed where she would get her morning cuddle and I would play one of her favourite songs Nerina Pallot’s “Juno”, that we would call The BBQ Song as it has lines like “The prettiest bird in all of the world, in all of the world,”.
The morning clock changed was different. We got the girls up and as it was an hour early the girls were not impressed. I scooped little BBQ up and she immediately tucked herself in and went back to sleep with a just 15 minutes more look.
I spend hours with BBQ every day and have only had a couple of days when I was not with her, one during a trip to Orkney and another for my dad’s 60th birthday. She got very upset and then excited to see me when I got back. She has not laid her egg and would clearly show that she missed me sitting on my knee snuggling in and stretching up to rest her beak on my check or sitting on my shoulder snuggling into my nose.
As I have been able to spend a lot of time with BBQ I was able to keep her safe from the others. Whether its protecting her the others peck her where she runs behind my feet, sitting with her when she comes in to the house to lay her egg away from the other, making sure she can get all the food and drink she wants, making sure she gets her treats sitting in my knee as it takes her lots of attempts to hit her mark, scooping her up for a cuddle multiple times a day, and as bedtime letter her snooze, cuddled in on my knee listening to Jeremy Soule The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Soundtrack while the others in the coop settle down so she can join them.
The girls go through different phases on where they wanted to lay there eggs and BBQ was no different, and as they others would peck her when she wanted to lay, so she would signal us to form the enclosure that she was ready to lay and we would walk her into the house where she could lay her egg in peace. However there was one occasion where late in the afternoon she wanted to lay her egg and would not go in the house and the others would not lay her in the coop and I had to sit on the grass with her as she laid her egg on the grass having the keep all the other girls away until she had finished.
During the colder nights we moved the girls into the shed and every night when my girls come in for bed, they all (with the exception of Tikka) climb up for their bedtime cuddles, and Bedtime Story Time and to listen to their Skyrim music for an hour. While the others would be settling down, BBQ would press herself into me and snuggles in for her cuddle. Then when it was time for her to go to bed I would give her a bedtime snack in some corn and give her a little drink, but due to her eyesight she would always dunk her head in water then shake her head covering me in water every time (she also did this with my cup of tea once, deciding she was going to have a go).
The other girls were often mean to BBQ and one day it was pouring down with rain and once again the others would not let her in the coop to shelter. Seeing this from my window I put some cardboard down in my office and got some food, water and treats and brought BBQ inside. I sat her on my knee so she could cuddle in dry off while I was working. However, while I was working on my third screen I was marathoning Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and BBQ was fascinated by the TV and stood on my knee watching the show. As the rain continued for a couple of days I brought her in for several days and she watched a couple of seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. little did we know she would get to watch a lot more TV and Movies in the months that followed.
BBQ loved her food and would always clear the plates once the others had gone out to play. She loved her mash potato and would have her face covered in it. She would get her face covered in everything from mash to Weetabix to scrambled egg and I would have to clean it all off her beak after it had turned cement. BBQ also loved her soup but both that and watermelon seeds (leaving us to pick them out for her) had to be cut from her diet after she got ill, as she went up and down with some foods. Another favourite was her rice and she could quite easily eat a bag of rice a day. BBQ would get very excited and start doing her little dance and squeaking when the worm bucket came out and because of her eyesight she for Bucket Time which was letting her stick her head in the worm bucket, and she would attack it like typing at high speed on a typewriter. With most of her food and treats she had trouble aiming for them with her sight with lots of attempts to hit her mark and I would hold her food for her, quickly adjusting its position as she lunged her head for it so she could get it. Later after she got ill I also had to spend a year syringing water into her or keep her properly hydrated along with her blocks of watermelon as she would not often drink on her own.
In early 2018 both Tikka and BBQ got ill from bad straw in their coop. We lost little Tikka and BBQ also got very ill. She got very constipated her tummy was swollen. She spent a day at the vets where they examined her and couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I had to get a sample of her poop and one day for the Vet to test and the look she gave as a picked it up and put it in the pot, she looked at me then looked at the poop back and forth as if sating what are you doing with that? We brought her into the living room to look after her during the day and at night she went back into the coop in the kitchen as the other girls were sleeping in a dog travel box as we were snowed in at the time. Every night we put BBQ to bed not knowing if it was the last time I would get to cuddle her. Shortly after as she was still very Ill, we let her stay in the living room in her little box and mum slept on the settee to keep her company for several months. During the day I would take her outside in her box for some fresh air although she would not leave it and just lay in the sun in her box with me, I also would bring the other girls in to see her, so she and her sisters still know she was there.
She was up and down for months not knowing what to do and had several times where I thought she was going to go in my arms. She struggled walking with her swollen tummy, and we rubbed it to make her feel better. I remember one day she was very ill and I had been rubbing her tummy she stood up and stumbled on to my and hand and shortly after started to perk up and I think whatever had been blocking her up was moved, giving her some relief.
During her time, over a year living in the living room, she was not able to go back in with the other since they would attack her again and as she had been mostly separated all her feathers on her head and tummy and all grown back. She never laid again but as this made her ill, we didn’t want her to lay. It took a long time for BBQ to get back to good health her comb was still down, but she was very active and would run after me, following me around the house. Watching her TV and watching for me coming down from my office to see her multiple times a day.
So that she did not get lonely during the day we got her, her Teddy that she loved and would cuddle up with and would sleep in her box with her at night. She would also look for teddy if he was not brought out of her bed and places on her cushion for the day.
Also to makes sure she was not lonely we left the TV on for her. I set up playlists on iTunes that would play Movies and TV shows on the Apple TV all day for her, and she would actually sit or stand and watch them all day. As I said early, she like Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and would perk up when she heard Agent Coulson’s voice, her favourite season was season 1 as this was the one she would actively watch the most. She also loved The Penguins Of Madagascar cartoons, as soon as the theme tune started she would turn and walk over to the TV watch Skipper and King Julien. BBQ also loved her Movie and lived the Marvel Cinematic Universe MCU, she loved Captain America and liked watching his first movie. However, her favourite movie was Thor: Ragnarök. The first time we played it for her she was on the settee on her box and I sat on the floor so I could be at her level to give her a cuddle. But BBQ wanting to watch Thor while I was trying to give her a hug just poked her head round passed me so she could see the TV, also form Ragnarök she loved Led Zeppelin “Immigrant Song” and would perk up to listen to it.
BBQ watch the MCU over 30 times, the Harry Potter Movies over 20 times, the Tinkerbell Movies over 15 times along with The Lord Of the Rings, Star Wars, John Wick and many more movies. Form the TV side she watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, The Penguins Of Madagascar, Firefly, Almost Human, and together we were two-thirds of the way through Stargate SG-1. It was always funny watching BBQ watch the TV as she knew when the movie was over and while the credits rolled, she would get up and have a snack come back for the next movie to start.
Don’t let Chickens fool you they know what you are talking about. One night while BBQ was snoozing on my knee mum was looking at the electric bill and said that we might have to turn BBQ’s TV off during the day and little BBQ who was a very quiet chicken, jumped up to her feet and started squawking at mum not to turn her TV off.
BBQ was not always in the living room and whenever the weather was not too bad, I took her outside so she could have a play in the Garden. Speckled would talk to her and walk and eat with her, however, the other had to be watched as they would attack her. She still knew the garden layout, due to her eyesight she would walk the same path or grid on the grass every time to find her way to her favourite spots here she knew she could find food and water.
BBQ always wanted here night time cuddles from me, sometimes mum would go to give her a cuddle, but she would keep looking over her spying over to where I was. If I was not there she would then get excited when she could hear me coming down the stairs to see here.
With BBQ living in the living room every night, we would watch a TV show or Movies together after we had our tea together, (as she would have her snacks at the same time). She would then want to be up in her box on the settee where she could cuddle in with me for a couple of hours. At 19:00 if she was not up and getting her cuddles, she would go nuts squeaking and running around my feet wanting up to the point where she would sit waiting or climb into her box waiting to be lifted up. Once up she would cuddle in where I could stroke her give her water with a syringe, and when it came to bedtime her Teddy would go into her box Alexa would say “Goodnight Barbledeecue” automatic turn her night light on and start playing Skyrim Atmospheres from Jeremy Soule The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Soundtrack that would play for 40 minutes while she had a quick wash and cuddled in with teddy to sleep.
I am going to miss my little BBQ, she was such a loving little fluff ball and my best friend. The house already feels cold and quiet without her. Speckled who is normally the resident grump has been sitting with me watching me and letting me cuddle her. I hope now that my little BBQ is playing nicely with OxO and Paxo, and her sister Tikka, and that Bisto is looking after her.
Below are some of the photos from the past 4 years of my little Barbledeecue. There are too many to post at once so I will post so I will make more posts for BBQ in the coming weeks and months in my Tales From The Coop blog here.