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