The unfortunate reality of keeping pets is that eventually they die. Chickens in particular have more than their fair share of deaths to choose from. From health problems to predators, any chicken owner most likely has a story to share.
So today, it pains me to share my story.
This morning started out normal. When I let my dog out for his morning potty, I went through the side gate to let the girls out of the coop. About two hours later I realized I had never brought them their food. So I grabbed their feeder, went outside and hung it up as usual. Then I counted; 1, 2, 3, 4……wait, where’s 5? Maybe she’s in the coop laying an egg. So I opened the hatch to the nest boxes. Nothing here either.
Panic set in. It’s then that I noticed the pile of feathers in the corner. I went around back of the run and to my horror discovered more feathers outside. Blood drained from my face and tears welled up as reality set in. Clover had been taken, dragged away and in all probability, was gone.
In my two and half years of keeping chickens, this is my first loss. The heaviness of my grief has surprised me. I understand why people mourn dogs and cats. But I didn’t realize that I had come to love my chickens this profoundly. In fact, I barely shed a tear when my grandmother died ten years ago (But then again, I didn’t have much of a relationship with her).
I’ve had the girls since they were hatchlings. Raised them in my home and have since cared for them every day. These aren’t your everyday farm animals. These are family.
Yes, I understand the silliness of my words. I understand that Clover is just a chicken. Chickens die every day. And I better get used to chickens – and other animals – dying if I ever plan to keep a farm. Death is a reality that is unavoidable.
Yet I grieve and remember my fair lavender orpington as the calm, sweet thing she was.
Rest in Peace dear Clover.