from our "farm," that is. porter, one of our little chickens, died of unknown causes last night. we noticed her acting strangely late in the week, but strange behavior is honestly somewhat usual for chickens. yesterday afternoon, though, it became clear that she wasn't doing well at all. so we made her as comfortable as we could, tucking her in a nesting box filled with straw and fabric. i stroked her feathers for a bit and thanked her for all of the eggs that she had given us over the last 2 years. we locked her up to make sure that no predators could get to her, and likewise made sure that the other chickens wouldn't peck at her. this morning jeremy buried her in the yard next to plum, one of our other little hen friends who died last year.
it's funny how sad we felt last night and this morning about porter. much of it, i'm sure, has to do with how much joy the chickens bring into lucy's life. she loves feeding them and clucking at them, and every morning one of the first things she wants to do after having her milk is for daddy to open the chicken coop. she'll stand on the bed, peer out the window and giggle at the "duk-duks" while they get their first drink of water and start pecking around for bugs.
left to right: cee-cee, porter & plum
the rest of the sadness we feel simply stems from seeing an animal pass away. a backyard chicken is perhaps not the equivalent as a beloved dog or cat, but we do appreciate our hens for what they are--part entertainment and part provider, with a bit of frustration mixed in. we've learned much about chickens by raising our own: facts about egg production, the quirky manner in which chickens conduct themselves on a day-to-day basis. but one of the greatest lessons that i have personally learned is that chickens are (sometimes) smart animals with distinct personalities. porter was the chicken who played chase with the dog, came running ahead of the flock at the mere possibility of food, and, on very seldom occasion, crowed so loudly in the morning that jeremy and i wondered how a rooster had made it into our backyard. she also gave eggs more steadily than any other bird we've owned.
she'll be missed!