When Bad Things Happen to Good Chickens
This weekend a dog in the neighborhood killed three of our beloved chickens. On our property, right in front of the kids, with me trying to get the dog away and frantically calling for the owners to come get the dog. I can still hear my daughter's voice in my head "Mommy, he's killing Goldie! Mommmmmmyyyyyy!!!!" and like those awful slow-motion dreams, not being able to get there in time to stop this dog. We buried them with a small ceremony on Saturday night, but the sadness won't leave for awhile.
When we got chickens, it was for the purpose of laying eggs - a sort of a utilitarian feature. I was unprepared for how endearing these creatures could be, how they would each have their own personality and quirks, how they would follow me around while gardening, with their soft little "bwaaaks" and squawks, looking for the bugs and worms I turned up. And so I was unprepared for the amount of grief that their demise has brought.
Goldie was our first egg-layer. For reasons unknown, she picked the side-vent of our house as a likely nesting box and laid her first few eggs in there. Afterwards, she would walk around the yard, loudly and proudly proclaiming her accomplishment. It was so fun for the kids to find those first few eggs.
Boudicca the Fierce was the leader of the whole chicken tribe, top of the pecking order (and the most likely to peck at me when she was a little chick). She was fiesty and funny.
And our beloved Dingbat, who was originally named Aphrodite, but renamed when her vision problems caused her to miss the door to the pen and run into the wire on many occasions. She also had a gimpy toe, that probably went along with her poor vision, but she had a very sweet temperament, and was the only chicken to take our new babies under her wing this year and shepherd them around the yard.
These three sweet being brought smiles and their funny silly chicken antics into our lives and we will miss them terribly. I know that out there in the big world people are having much worse days than this. I know people in many places would give their eyeteeth to have a day where only chickens die (or even be happy, because then they would have a decent meal), but for us, we've lost some beloved pets and we are grieving "just for chickens".
RIP Goldie, Boudicca the Fierce, and Dingbat.