Fiona the Chick died sometime last night. Somehow, knowing it was coming didn't make it easier.
As many wise people have said, some little guys just don't make it--that's the way nature goes. And we probably kept her alive for far longer than she would have been with a hen for a mom. In fact, I was questioning myself for it at a certain point, wondering if it might not be kinder to end her suffering--wondering if maybe coaxing her to eat and drink was more for me.
But, in the end, I decided she had the right to try to live, and I was going to do my best to help her.
And in retrospect, I don't know what I would have done differently. I think she would have done better in a brooder by herself without the bigger chickens, but she didn't want to be alone...and the big girls weren't actively picking on her, it was just that she stayed chick-sized and they've grown-up. It was actually getting to the point where I was going to have to separate them no matter what--the big girls are getting their feathers and needing less heat--so maybe little Miss Fi picked the right time to make her exit.
And, as is the way with humans when a beloved animal dies, I promise myself that I won't let myself get so attached next time. But it's a promise I look forward to breaking.