Well I knew the day would come when the old hens would gradually die out, but what I hadn't figured on was how much the LAST ONE would grieve!!
Helga the hen from Hell passed in her sleep last week... leaving lovely little Hermoine all alone. And that poor hen was absolutely bereft. She watched as I buried Helga and proceeded to stay near the grave for the rest of the day. Come evening when they would normally go up to roost ... instead of heading for the little coop they had used for months... she tried to go back to the old blue shed that they had all "grown up" in. Was she trying to return to the past to find her sister? Or would she feel more secure there? I don't profess to know how a hen thinks... it was just the saddest thing to see! And the sounds she made! The keening of a mourning hen is heartrending!!!
Sometime during the second day of her sorrow I came up with the idea to put a stuffed toy next to her at night. She sleeps in an old dog carrier (easy to clean and disinfect) and doesn't actually roost. (All those girls preferred to sleep on a big shelf in the shed.... so I just washed their fluffy butts on a fairly regular basis! 'Cause that's what a chicken-Mama will do for her ladies!) Anyway, the teddy bear didn't go over very well the first night! But by the second evening she was sitting all comfy and cozy next to him!
BUT during the days she kept looking for Helga and making all these pitiful little cries when she didn't find her in any of their favorite spots. I couldn't take it anymore! So I took a drastic step...........
|1/18/2017 4 little Leghorn chicks are we!|
Meet our latest family members. Haven't named them yet because they look alike to me! They are too small to put in with Hermoine, but she certainly perked up when she heard all the tiny cheeping noises coming from the cage. Now that did my heart good to see! After the first day she even ventured off to hunt bugs, but would return to listen to them. Their daytime cage is up on a small table in the chicken run and Hermoine will sit underneath it and act just as contented as she could be! So hey, I feel like I did a good thing.... even if it means another batch of hens to look after. Hope Hermoine teaches them the ropes this Spring (and Summer). She will be six years old in March.... wonder how old Orpingtons get? Oh well, she is definitely in her "wisdom years" and has a lot to share with the Leghorn gals!
|1/21/2017 Fourth day here!|