So thanks to you amazing readers, I figured what I had to do. I knew before but I needed that extra push, someone telling me, "It's okay... you can do this."
Well I can't.
Not yet at least. And I tried. I got everything ready -- the block, the hatchet AND an axe, just in case. I got the hen, who had since nested down in a corner under the sink in the barn and brought her her final place. As I laid her down, I apologized, explained that this was for the best and I thanked her for her eggs and her contribution to our farm.
I raised the hatchet, took a deep breath in.... and she started freaking out, squawking and flapping at me. So I of course panicked and let go. She stood up, pooped all over the block (that was thankfully covered in newspaper) and jumped down with the hideous prolapse hanging like a pendulum behind her. She then proceeded to walk, albeit slowly, over to the remains of the rhubarb, sit herself down and stare back at me as if to say, "Well that didn't go very well. What are you going to do now?"
The only thing I can: I just called in my own reinforcements. Lucas said he'd help as soon as he got home.
I don't know what feels worse - the fact that I have to do this or the fact that I can't.
Now I'm wondering if I can't see them through their entire life cycle, should I even be keeping chickens?
For the back story, go here.
UPDATE ON MY UPDATE: It's done. Lucas took the hatchet to her. I told him I wanted to be there but he did it when I was getting the kids from the bus. It was his first time too and he wanted to do it without an audience. I get that, except it does feel like I'm still stuck in the same mental spot. That said, I know we'll have to do another dispatch sooner or later. Hopefully, I'll be more ready then.