As my witty sister-in-law, Gail, quipped, we had a holiday of “drama and trauma”. I deeply regret following up the post about Birdie’s passing with more tribulation, but that’s just how it has been going. As the Oracle said in her gravelly voice, to Neo, in The Matrix, “You have a good soul, and I hate giving good people bad news.” But sometimes, sadly, Henny Penny is right. The sky really is falling.
We’ve had just enough rain to soften the dirt over by the lane next to our fence where the orange-clock vine blooms. It’s loamy and ripe with grubs and the like, just the way chickens like it. Whenever I open the pen gate, the hens march over there straightaway to pedal the ground, sifting through it like they are panning for gold. And, for a hen, a juicy earthworm is akin to gold, I suppose.
And there they were, peacefully plying their trade in the middle of the week in the middle of the day when tragedy struck. An unknown predator – coyote? bobcat? – must have come over the fence and staged a blitzkrieg attack so sudden that there was no sound from any of the flock. Chloe, who was outside – presumably on guard – never moved from her favored post by the kitchen door. Summer was only six months old, a gorgeous golden beauty; she probably was targeted because she was the largest of the flock.
Nearly every seasoned flock keeper has been saddened by the sight of a pile of feathers and an absent hen. Unless you keep your hens Fort Knoxed 24/7, something like this will happen along the way. It has happened to us, now, twice. It does not get easier.
How much grief is one permitted for a pet, and specifically, for a chicken, when one is well known to polish off a good portion of said species at any given dinner? I’ll just say that Summer embodied all the serene and noble characteristics of her breed. She was calm and good-natured and beautiful, and I miss her.
The flock has re-grouped. Less free-ranging; more supervision, but they know how carry on. I’m thinking today of dear friends who have suffered a loss far more tragic than ours. I know they, too, will re-group and carry on, but oh, how the heart hurts. Much love to Julia and family…
“You are loved, you are golden
And the circle won’t be broken
When you sail into the shadow of the storm
Every son, every daughter
When you’re out on troubled water
Just hold on, just hold on
You are loved, you are loved
You are loved, you are golden
You are golden
You are golden….”
– Amy Grant