Sad Day

It’s a sad day. Last night as we sat at the table drinking wine and telling tales before dinner, we watched a smug looking red-shouldered hawk fly unusually low past the house. Seeing a hawk is almost always a good thing, except when your hens are out foraging for the day. We bolted out the door and over the hill to the chicken coop.

Eventually we found her, a pile of feathers and a fatal wound. There was very little blood, and it looked like the hawk, who was far too small to carry her away, chose to eat his meal there on the ground where he took her down.

Fauna was by far the most charming of all our hens. A huge Barred Rock, she was totally tame, and had a quirky personality. She had an odd habit of occasionally jumping up into your arms for a snuggle. She was clearly quite old (we got her from another farm and have no idea of her actual age) and had some health problems – a chest rattle that defied diagnosis and scars from a bad case of mites on her feet. She laid eggs rarely, but with great fanfare. Most importantly, she was in charge of the flock, taking on the job of rooster, always charging forward at the head of the column, and always the one to run up to greet you when you came by.

It could be that is why she was the one to be taken. Perhaps she sacrificed herself so the other hens could escape. It’s probably a fantasy, but it’s a nice way to remember her.

So long, Fauna, you were a good old girl and you will be missed.

Chicken girl

8 thoughts on “Sad Day

  1. dang,. you may be closer to the truth than you might suspect. I know with our animals (both chickens and in the past ducks) they will stand in the gap against an intruder. I do feel your pain. We had a raccoon break into our hen house a few years ago, (tore the wire off the door and took a hen who was sitting on a nest of eggs.) I did eventually catch it in a live trap and send it to the promised land…

  2. What a lovely tribute to a hen full of character; I’m so impressed by how well you knew her. So sorry to hear that she had to come to such an end.

  3. Thanks for all your kind thoughts, dear readers. I know you all understand what it’s like, and how I’m not crazy for mourning one chicken even as I fatten up 26 others for the dinner plate!

  4. So sad. Is there any consolation in the thought that this was a sort of pact between animals? One being a natural predator and the other one its prey. They both know the rules of the game and their game has nothing to do with human emotion. I say this with tears rolling down my cheeks. I do not even know you and Fauna, but you had a bond, and that is precious. You changed each other’s lives. Thank you for loving her. People who love animals make this world a beautiful place. Have a good weekend.

  5. So sorry to hear this. :( We lost one of girls to a hawk this fall. Sounds identical to what you found. I just take comfort knowing she lived a happy life and died doing what she loved best.

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