Thursday, February 02, 2006

Death of a hen

The old red hen has died. I came home from seeing some doctors (it's my job, I'm not ill) to find a motionless lump of red feathers in the chicken run. I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary when I fed them and checked the water this morning. She was the oldest chicken I had so this wasn't at all surprising, but it is sad nonetheless. Now the title of oldest chicken goes to Rocky the Rooster. He's a real cornflakes box of a chicken (breed - Welsummer). Very handsome and quite a good crower. He was named because of a very strong likeness to a main character in the movie Chicken Run. For a while I had suspected that Rocky was gay. He looks good and is a very good a the aforementioned crowing, but I never saw him perform his primary function. He must merely be shy and wait until there is no audience because all the eggs that were hatched last summer were made fertile by himself.

The old red hen must have been about five or six. Good going for a chicken. She was an ISA Brown, a British hybrid layer. I got her from one of the farms in the village that sold point of lay pullets. The farm I got her from no longer sells them. She was a pretty darned good layer and I'll miss her regular supply of eggs. She was however the meanest of all the chickens and a real bully to any newcomers to the flock. Perhaps I will now have a peaceful flock.

I'm pleased that she had a good life here. She never got eaten by a fox (though a few of her sisters did) and grew to a ripe old age. She was the smartest chicken I had. She knew exactly how to go back into the run when I was rounding them up after being out all day and the first to come to me when I have treats from the kitchen. I have a couple of her children pecking around in the garden now. As they are chickens, they don't seem to care that she is gone. I wonder how the pecking order will go now that the old meany is gone.

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