Fran has survived a lot. She came beat up from a small coop, escaped a hawk and stray dogs, survived a near fatal fox attack, was nursed back to life by Maria. But she is failing now, eating little, hiding out in a corner of the barn, and the other hens are beginning to attack her, as chickens do when one of their own is ill. It was very powerful to see Maria tend to her, give her food, talk to her, bring her back to life. She is getting thin, and getting weak.
If we don't kill her, the chickens will, so it's really a decision as to how she leaves the world and when. In the real world of real animals, there are no happy or sad endings, just life and the laws of the natural world. It's Maria's decision, really, I think, since she saved Fran's life, and she and I are very much in sync with it. Fran's survival was a small miracle – her wounds were grievous, but she never fully recovered. And while there are small miracles, we can't alter the nature of the world.
mWe don't believe in animals suffering so that people can be spared pain and discomfort. I am getting ready, and when Maria is okay with it, we'll do it.