Sunday, March 18, 2012

RIP Henny Hen Hen

Dear Henny got hit by a car and killed this week.
Rob and the girls found her by the side of our road on their way home from art class.
I got the call at work.

The girls were sobbing.
She was such a sweet friendly bird. So patient when the girls would pick her up and carry her around the yard.
She was always calling and clucking to her sister Sparkle as they ventured around scratching up the grass.
The new Warwick chickens we acquired a few months ago have never warmed up to us the way Henny and Sparkle, who we raised from when they were just 2 day old chicks.
When our initial six chickens were tiny Georgia would hold them so long in her warm little hands that we would have to make sure to switch them out so they didn't get dehydrated.

Sparkle is lonely now, running up the hill to us when we come home.
Looking for her sister, clucking.
The BBC reported last year that chickens feel empathy, but we knew that.

When Sparkle was attacked by something in the garage last year she emerged from hiding and limped to Henny's side under the Cedar trees. Sparkle laid her head on Henny's back and they clucked quietly to each other for hours until evening came.

We've had enough of chicken grief and sadness.
It feels terrible to grow so fond of them and then have them die one by one.
Sparkle is the only one left of the original 6 we got in 2010.

Here's Georgia's plump little baby hands unable to stay away from the chicks.
And Georgia and Lily 2 years ago holding their babies Henny and Sparkle

We were worried about going away on vacation, even though we have a very reliable chicken-sitter.
We were all scared to come home to bad news.

So we all agreed to permanently place our remaining precious Sparkle with the very organized and competent chicken rearing neighbor we have. We can visit our friendly bird. She can be integrated slowly into the flock. She will be looked after.

The Warwick chickens we will give back to our generous friend, with thanks of loaning them to us so our chickens were warm enough in their coop to get through the winter.

We all discussed the plan and seemed to feel OK about it. Sad and disappointed, but relieved to decide on safe places for our remaining chickens. Glad to be done with the worry and heavy responsibility.
I will really miss the eggs.
And I feel sadness at the loss of them scattered and clucking around the yard like plump colorful jewels.
What personality they have, waddling up to us in greeting when we walk out into the yard.

Once we finished talking there was a pause and Lily suggested, "Maybe we can get some chicks in the spring?"

Rob and I both said, "No!"

We buried Henny by the fence with stones, flowers and notes reminding her how much we'll miss her.

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