Yesterday I watched my favorite chicken die. She was a beautiful Americauna pullet - 9 weeks old. I watched as she struggled to hold onto life after the neighbors dog, not really more than a puppy, had gotten under our fence and grabbed her. I was only 10 yards away - within earshot if my window had been open. My 5 year old son had found them and said to me very calmly, "Mom, a puppy is eating one of our chickens." I said, "What!?" to which he repeated with a little more alarm, "Mom, a puppy is eating one of our chickens!" I ran out to find the puppy, tail between his legs, trying to crawl under the fence again, and our chicken gasping for breath.
I had wondered over the past few weeks if I would cry if one of them died. A couple of years ago I saw a hawk carry away a small pullet and I burst into tears - but I thought perhaps it was a fluke because those were my first hens. I wondered if I was as attached to these birds. But when I came out and found her dying, I once again burst into tears. I didn't know if I was supposed to save her - to mend her wounds or if it was too late. I felt such an immediate sense of how small and vulnerable my little hens are - and how it was my responsibility to provide a save place for them to live. I felt awful after I realized she was really gone, lifting her limp body and putting it in a bag. Since we have no backyard neighbors but wilderness I didn't want to bury her and attract predators so I put her in the trash. I felt so guilty. She was such a beautiful bird. I had told my sons that we might even want to enter her into the county fair but instead she ended up in our trash. It was a sad day.
Rest in peace, little hen.