A Case of Mistaken Identity

Ida-Mae and Clara — In Plummier Days

Not that it makes any difference.  But, I have discovered that it wasn’t Clara who was feeling ill.  It was Ida-Mae, Clara’s almost-twin sister.  I’m embarrassed to admit it but, for almost a year, we’ve been calling our (now) missing hen by the wrong name!

I know that for a fact because yesterday, after seeing that beautiful black and white hen in such obvious distress, I looked up her history.  Not that I have ancestry.comforchickens (if, indeed, there is such a thing) but I do write about various chicken milestones in my blog.  I was curious about how long we’d had “Clara” and when her “almost-twin” had died, so I took a look in past blog posts.  Here is what I found:

June 20, 2020 – a pair of Barred Rock hens came from our neighbors down the road who generously answered my plea for a couple of hens to increase our puny flock of two — if you can really call two hens a “flock.”  They are beautiful, mellow additions and, for a while, are being isolated from Slutvana and Little Red Hen in the once-up0n-a-time “Broody Coop” …  Their former owners estimated them to be two years old.

In June 2020

June 27, 2020 – In the seven days since we’ve had them, they’ve give us seven eggs.  They are totally sweet, good-natured girls.  We are calling them Clara and Ida-Mae. 

December 14, 2020 – I had just finished writing my blog about chickens’ sleeping habits yesterday when I went to let the girls out of the coop and found Ms. Clara toes up just behind the roost…

And, apparently, without missing a beat, I’ve called Ida-Mae by Clara’s name ever since.  I’m so sorry.  It sort of reminds me of the Victorian habit of changing a living child’s name to that of a sister or brother who has just died.  My own great-grandmother Richardson, born October 30, 1856, was Christened Anne Maria Taylor but when younger sister Medora Law Taylor (1864-1869) died, Anne Marie became Annie Medora Taylor.  An odd custom I’ve always thought.  And  here I’ve done it to our chickens!

No matter.  Whether we remember her as Clara or Ida-Mae, she was still missing this morning.  Missing and presumed… you know the rest.

One Response to “A Case of Mistaken Identity”

  1. I did not know siblings carried the names of a deceased brother or sister. Wonder how that got started.

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