Buffy had been ailing for a long time. Hens rarely die peacefully in their sleep, so I knew that it would be up to me to decide if Buffy was suffering. That’s a very difficult thing to do. Old hens often slow down and you don’t realize that they’re not eating and drinking until they’ve been starving. I didn’t want that to happen to Buffy.

In November, she was still able to dirt bathe in the sun.


But by December, she didn’t have the strength in her legs to walk in and out of the coop. Although Buffy spent most of her days resting in the corner of the barn, each morning she stood up to get her special treat of hulled sunflower seeds and corn that I set down on the ground near her. She walked over the the waterer. Because she was spending so much time in one place, and had no energy to dust bathe, I checked her bottom to make sure it wasn’t packed with manure. I dusted her with louse powder. But, by the last week of December, she was no longer standing up to eat her food. She didn’t drink. Alasdair Maclean, the poet, describes this perfectly in his poem, Hen Dying:

She doesn’t visit the feed any more.
I lay some grain in front of her
whenever I come across her,
She rummages through her mind,
slowly remembering how to eat.

Buffy was done. Steve did the difficult task of euthanizing her. (He does a quick neck break, learned from a book. I’m sorry that I don’t have a video to share with you, as at some point, you’ll have to do this too, if you keep hens.)

As with all of my hens that pass on, I did a necropsy. Over the years, Buffy had survived several bouts of respiratory disease, a mysterious paralysis, and on-going weakness in her legs. I’d expected to see horrible things inside of her, as I had seen in my other old hens. I was surprised not to find any tumors or obvious infection. Like many old hens, she had a solidified egg in her body cavity, likely from an episode of internal laying. Her intestinal tract was discolored, and looked like it hadn’t been functioning well. I checked for internal parasites. There were none. My best guess is that she simply died of old age.

Buffy had 7 1/2 good years.



Followers of HenCam get attached to my chickens, some hens more than others. Buffy captured your hearts. Over the years, I’ve pondered why that was. She was a basic Buff Orpington, pretty and golden, fluffy and placid, But, I’ve had other hens like that. Why her? Perhaps it was how often she overcame seemingly terminal illnesses. She had more lives than a cat. But, that wasn’t it either, as she had fans who never knew of her life and medical history. I think that she connected with you because she had a personality of stoic calm. She seemed like someone who would be your steady best friend.


The other hens have gone on with their lives. It’s as if Buffy was never there. But we know she was.


  1. Terry, I am saddened by Buffy’s passing. I was one of her many fans, I think because she seemed so stress free and I wished the same for myself. But I can stress over the smallest things. RIP Buffy!

  2. So sorry to hear. She was always a great source for an interesting story.

    She will be one of the reasons I will get Buff Orpington some day.

  3. I’m so sorry to hear about Buffy. She had a good long life and I’ll miss seeing her.

  4. So sorry to hear about Buffy,she was my favorite don’t know exactly why but Buffy was calm and inspirational!RIP
    Buffy! I will miss you!

  5. I will miss Buffy very much. She came to you from a flock where she was being bullied. Then I watched Edwina bully and pummel Buffy on the head one afternoon. Shortly after that Edwina was banished to theGems. Buffy and Twinkeydink sunbathed together often. Buffy was finally left alone and finished her days in peace. Thank you Terry for taking such good care of her

  6. Such sad news. Buffy was such a beauty.

    I have 6 girls about the same age. I know my day is coming to deal with the same issues.

  7. Farewell to the newest member of the heavenly flock. I will strive to be as inestimable an old bird as Buffy.

    I already see bunny prints in the snow at 8:15 a.m. Enjoy the snow!

  8. I was devastated to see this post on facebook! I am so saddened to read this news, We will miss Buffys golden glow on hencam!

  9. Sweet Buffy–she reminds me of our Buff Orpington, who is also the grandame of our flock. What a lucky hen she was to end up in your care.

  10. As always, you inspire and amaze me with your soulful, realistic, active writing about so many subjects – in this case, Buffy. You eulogize her in a perfect hen manner. Stoic yet loving, sadly yet knowing that we all end up dead. I liked Buffy, I think, because of the way you wrote about her. xo

  11. Rest in peace sweet Miss Buffy. Chicken job well done!

  12. What a Grand Dame she was! She had a good, long life with you and will live on in our fond memories.

  13. I’m sorry Terry, you must feel pretty bad, although stoic about it, just like Buffy would be.
    Buffy was my favorite too. Take care, and thank you for taking such good care of her.

  14. Thank you for taking such great care of Buffy. Your eulogy of her is perfect. I have a Buff Orpington, named Queen Orpington, and I named a Buff Silkie Bantam, Buffy. I will always remember your Buffy. The Hencam calendar also reminds me when I see the picture of Amber on the front, and in 6 months when I turn to the month of July.
    I had to laugh yesterday, just thinking of all of us chicken and animal lovers, and the things we do! I spent part of New Year’s Day giving a greyhound, and 2 dachshunds each a bath, and giving Shirley, my little Polish hen, one of your spa treatments. This is Shirley’s 3rd spa in 2 Yr. She may, or may not, come through this time, but oh how she loves the warm spa water, and the warm blow dry after! Thanks Terry. Sorry for us, and you,…. losing a friend, but grateful how you tactfully remind us that death is part of life, and we must treat our animal friends the best we possibly can, accept it, and go on.

  15. Sorry to hear this. As you know she was one of the luckiest chickens ever to grace a coop.

  16. Thank you, Terry and Steve, for taking such good care of your animals. I’ll miss Buffy but am glad that she is not suffering and can now rest in peace.

  17. Terry, you are such a loving and caring pet owner.
    Thank you for sharing this, it is a sad thing that comes to all hens eventually. What a wonderful life she had with you.

  18. She had a wonderful life! I know I always look for her when I check in:)

  19. Echoing the sentiments above….Buffy will be greatly missed and thank you for your TLC towards her & all the pets who are lucky to share their lives with you.

  20. Such sad news … I am sorry for your loss.
    After I read one of your recent blog posts where you updated your readers on how Buffy was doing (“she’s holding on …”), I just knew that this post was imminent.
    Bless you for all that you (and Steve) have done for Buffy during her time with you. I think that your photo eulogy has captured Buffy’s essence so well. What I liked most about her was her quiet serenity and her “live and let live” attitude. I know that it was her time, and I will miss her too.

  21. RIP Buffy. Your eulogy brings a tear to my eye, for Buffy and all our lost chicken friends over the years. Thank you Terry for sharing with us.

  22. This is a sad day indeed. Buffy was a sweet old girl. Sorry for you and Steve. God bless you both.

  23. We knew this day would come, but it still stings a bit to know the old girl is gone. Rest in Peace Buffy. Thank you Terry for letting us know and for giving her a good beginning, middle, and end of life. Well done.

  24. I just don’t have the words to express what I would like to say…Some people would tout that, “it’s just a chicken…we EAT chickens and don’t have a measure of sympathy everytime we go thru KFC”. Those people just don’t know….”we” get attached…I have 6 girls of my own, 2 being Buffs (my “Golden Girls”) and the way they come waddling out to meet me EVERY time I go to them is enough to capture my heart. I’m so sorry that Buffy’s time with you has come to an end but I admire the bravery and love that you showed in carrying out a heartwrenching decision. My heart is a little heavier knowing that Buffy is gone.

  25. Thank you for sharing. Your bravery to know what was best for Buffy is inspiring. My flock is young yet, but when it is time for me to make hard decisions like this I will remember your post.

  26. I’m so sorry you have lost sweet Buffy. You are a wonderful person to know when it was time for her to rest at last. I have had to call on my neighbor to tend to mine when the time came. I just cannot do it. Buffy will be sadly missed and remembered with joy!

  27. I have tears as I type this. RIP sweet Buffy. I think what endeared Buffy to me was she overcame adversity whether it was illness or being bullied. She had a wonderful life there at LIttle Pond Farm.

  28. Buffy may be gone but her story lives on here, in your many fine blogs of her that you have written over the years. so many lessons learned thanks to 2 fine chicks(1 with golden feathers and 1 with a golden heart)…..thanks.

  29. Oh I am so sorry to hear this. Buffy was most definitely my favorite as well. I have a Buff Orpington who of course looks just like Buffy, but also has the same calm demeanor. She is my big sweetheart. I think that is why this saddens me so much. I imagine my own sweet Emma passing away.

  30. I’m sure Gladys is already bossing her about! They leave such a big hole for a little scrap of feathers; some hens are just hens, and others most definitely aren’t.

  31. I’m sorry Terry. Buffy always made me smile, even if it was a sad post about her not doing well, I always loved to hear about her. Rest in peace Buffy!

  32. I have been bracing for this news for some time now. I even thought Buffy might not be there when I attended your chicken keeping workshop this past year. She was a great hen and led the best of lives with great people and the best of caregivers. Lucky lady.

  33. I was always thought about Buffy. Sad that she passed, but she had a FABULOUS life with you Terry. It’s amazing how chickens can touch our hearts in the neatest little ways.

  34. Rest in peace Buffy, it was good to watch you on the hencam. A lot of people are going to miss you. God Bless xxx

  35. Sad news. Buffy will always be an inspiration to this old (human) biddy.

  36. So sorry for you but she had such a lovely life with you and will not be forgotten. She was a very special character and you gave her the very best care.

  37. Buffy still confounding and lucky to the end. I am sorry that she is gone but glad that she had such a good year this after you removed Edwina. She finally got to help raise some one month chicks and I think that was probably something that really enriched her life and I know that if you ever do get any more Buff Orphingtons Terry that her spirit will be in them and you will once more have a Buff Orpington turning normal chicken health rules on their head.

  38. Terry, I am so sorry but as you said she had 7 1\2 good years!!! Thank you for sharing Buffy and your other animals with us!!!

  39. OOOh, I really dread the day I have to put a hen out of her misery. I did not know they tend to linger so long… was hoping for the sleep death version. :-( Buffy had a wonderful life and a humane passing.

  40. Miss Buffy…….what a wonder. Now she runs and pecks and clucks with all the big chicks. In a perfect flock. I am saddened by her passing but know without a doubt she was “one lucky chick” !!

  41. Steve and Terry, thanks for sharing your family with us. Your compassion is touching. Rest in peace, Buffy, in the meadow with all the other girls. We will miss your quiet dignity.

  42. The picture of Buffy and Twinkydink is a replica of our Buff “The Queen” and black sex link “Raven”. They are inseparable, whether in the pen, free-ranging, or on the roost. Thank you for sharing their lives, and deaths, with us. Buffy lived a long, well cared for life!
    Paul and Roma

  43. I had been missing Buffy lately and hoped she was OK. Thank you for not letting her suffer. She was like a quiet gentle old friend. Your kindness and attention is the reason she lived so long and so well.

  44. I am so sorry! Be at peace Buffy! You lived and thrived in a happy home!

  45. I´ve only been a Hencam watcher since September but, I am also one of the many that have fallen in love with Buffy. She will always hold a special place in our hearts.

  46. So sorry about Buffy’s demise. What a hen! Remember when Lulu grew attached to Buffy as the only hen house resident who would tolerate her craziness? Buffy was not thrilled with her new found ‘friend” but exhibited great tolerance and patience. She always seemed to be the most “self-contained” of your flock; perhaps that is why so many of us loved her. I love the picture of her in her prime in the clover.

  47. When I saw your new post titled “Buffy” and read the first line my heart filled with dread. Now I am crying about the death of a chicken I’ve never even seen in person. But you are correct Terry. I would like to have a “Buffy” for a steady best friend. We will remember her.

  48. Buffy was my favorite out of all the girls. I remember seeing her for the first time. How could you not notice that fluffy butterscotch body of hers. I always enjoyed seeing her on her favorite roosting spot. She will be missed. Orpingtons will be my first breed of chickens in the spring. That is all thanks to that lovely, sweet fluff girl Buffy. Terry, you’re in my thoughts.

  49. I am so sorry about Buffy. I knew this day would come. She was a great hen who had a lively personality. She had a long, full life. I’ll miss seeing her, as will the other hens, the bunny, and goats. May she join her other friends and rest in peace.

  50. So sorry to hear of Buffy’s passing. She was my favorite Little Pond Farm chicken. . On New Years Eve I was showing my mother the pictures of all your animals and when she saw Buffy she said what a pretty chicken she is. There was just something special about Buffy.

  51. I never cuss..but DAMN…this one really hurts…and bless your husband for doing the right thing

  52. Goodbye, Old Lovely.
    She really won the chicken lottery when you took her under your wing. She was special because of the lessons she and you taught together. Primarily that all life is precious and needs to be be treated with dignity and care. God bless you Terry Golson!.

  53. Ahhh so sad to hear of Buffys passing. We knew it was coming, but still, losing a pet is never easy.

  54. Terry I’m so sorry to hear of Buffy’s passing, I wondered why I hadnt seen her on the cam lately and hoped the worst hadnt happened. She really did have 9 lives and because of your spa treatments and close protection, she lasted a long time. Buffy always looked so gentle and calm (maybe motherly?), she had a whole set of fans of her own. RIP special hen. x

  55. Buffy was immediately my favorite when I first discovered Hencam. There is just something about that calm, quiet gentle old girl that drew me in. I work as a veterinary technician and have helped many euthanize a beloved pet, including my own. When an animal is old and ailing, in my experience, there many times is a moment of peace that you can almost feel, as if they are saying “thank you, I am so tired”. I know Buffy would thank you and Steve for your compassion and kindness right to the very end.

  56. I’m so sorry for your loss of Buffy, but I am sure she had an extraordinary life for a hen. We will always remember that sweet, loyal and inspiring chicken. Rest in peace legendary Buffy.

  57. I’m so sorry she’s gone. She was my favorite. Rest in peace, beautiful Buffy.

  58. Oh no, only just catching up with the news now.
    RIP Buffy – seven and a half years lived happily thanks to Terry and Steve.
    Kudos to Steve for doing such a difficult job.
    I will miss this lovely golden hen.

  59. Just checking up with your news. So sorry to hear about your nice Buffy.
    Enjoyed watching her too. We will see her again at The Rainbow Bridge.
    She will be missed.

  60. P.S. I just found out about your cute Siouxsie. So sorry to hear this sad news too. I enjoyed watching her entertaining antics. I will miss seeing her too. :'(