Saddened But Not Surprised

Mar 24, 2016 | 7 comments

A Sad Ending

A Sad Ending

One of our recalcitrant (as in wandering) chickens was killed yesterday by a neighbor’s dog.  It was one of those unfortunate-but-bound-to-happen things.  The dog’s leash was put down for just a minute while the owner used both hands to do the responsible scoop-the-poop task, the dog spied the chicken outside the fence and, faster than you can say “chicken dinner,” the inevitable occurred.

The dog’s owner brought the body to our door and, to paraphrase what my grandmother said when her daughter Sue’s pet pig died, “I think she was more upset than the chicken was.”  Farmer Nyel immediately locked the other girls into their run and then buried their former coop-mate in the garden.  For the time being – or perhaps from now on – our chickens will not be free-ranging.

At the Front Door

Once-Upon-A- Time, At the Front Door

The day before yesterday I’d had a bit of a premonition about this hen’s demise.  I actually think she did too – if chickens have premonitions.  I had glanced out our front door and was surprised to see one of the girls sprawled (Yes. Sprawled.) on the porch.  She was on her side, apparently tasking a sunbath during one of our non-cloudy spells.  But one wing was at an awkward angle and I wondered…

So I went out and walked around her slowly.  No movement.  Nothing.  Just a big pile of feathers, that outstretched wing, and that one glassy, fowl eye staring at me.  I truly wondered if she had died right there on the porch.  Finally, I walked, almost stomping, right up to her and she lazily got up, looked at me an accusatory way, and toddled off.  I felt a little badly, obviously having disturbed her afternoon nap.

Homeward Bound

Homeward Bound No More

When I told Nyel about it later, we concluded that her behavior was reminiscent of a hen taking a dust bath, but given our constant rain, there is no dust to be had.  Just mud.  So maybe our warm, sunny porch was the next best thing.

We have no way of knowing, of course, if it was the very same Rhode Island Red that met her end yesterday.  They all look alike.  Truly.  But there has always been one (we think) who seemed to be the leader of the little flock and, if this was that particular girl, perhaps the others will stay in the yard now.  But, for the time being, we aren’t taking any chances.

Oh.  And did I say that the name of the Black Lab who couldn’t resist is “Espy”?  How ironic is that?


  1. Stephanie Frieze

    What a sad state of affairs!

  2. Cate Gable

    Sydney: sad for the loss of any life, chicken or otherwise.

  3. Bruce Jones

    But the vignette was beautifully written– thanks Sydney.

  4. Jean Stamper

    What a fitting epitaph for your wandering chick. I know you are right in assuming that Anne felt worse than the bird. I remember a time when she was learning to drive and a pheasant ran out in front of the car meeting a sad ending. Dad got out of the car and made sure it wasn’t suffering while Anne was in tears and swearing she would never drive again. I’m sure Espy will be confined to a leash from now on.

    • sydney

      The ironic part was that Espy WAS on the leash (as she always is when being walked) but Anne had another dog, also on leash, with her and just needed a free hand to scoop the poop. She said that Espy had never shown any interest in our chickens before. But, of course, this time the chicken wasn’t behind our fence where she belonged. It certainly wasn’t Anne’s fault or Espy’s, either, for that matter!

  5. Kathie

    Of course….Espy dog…Little chicken

    • sydney



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