A half dozen days since the chickens died
Edna and Nutmeg were 4 year old hens born in Duvall WA. They lived a life typical of hens living in the city after growing up in the countryside. They’d wake up around 7am every day, climb down their house and wait to be let out into the yard. Every day, they’d dutifully do their jobs as chickens: laying eggs, searching for bugs to eat, dig in the dirt when warm for a dirt bath, perch on objects to be in a patch of sunlight, eat the food my mother bought them. Each time my mother or me was outside, they follow us as we walked to the alley, often squawking to us as hello. I’d greet them each time with a “Hello girls” or by name. Betty was independent, kinda crazy, and at the top of the pecking order from day 1. Nutmeg was a typical groupie and usually at the bottom of it. Nice but a pushover to the other chickens.
I helped, but the Chickens were my mom’s thing. She did the dirty work of cleaning their coop and taking care of them whenever the chickens had treatable ailments. She found them dead. Apparently it happened like an hour before I got home from work, as mom worked from home today.
To say the two chickens died, is a gentle way of saying viciously murdered.
There wasn’t a noisy ruckus by Edna or Nutmeg, or a sign something was wrong.
The chickens could be quite noisy when they wanted to. They’d squawk every day while laying eggs, in that classic chicken way. It wouldn’t take much for them to alert someone in the house.
This crime happened so fast, the victims never had a chance.
No sign of forced entry. The exterior and interior fences undisturbed.
Inside was a gruesome murder scene.
Decapitations with further gore.
There was clear signs of struggle. Bloody feathers, and occasional blood spots.
Mom found them. Later said that she let out some loud explicit words. In shocked agony of these murders.
Her guess is that a “raptor bird” or other predatory bird swooped in and killed the chickens. Which do live in the area. We’ve spotted hawks, falcons, owls, and bald eagles from the backyard before. Not that surprising considering Seward Park is close. (Which is a large wooded park with the nests of many birds including bald eagles)
(All I can imagine are flying velociraptors from Jurassic Park when she said raptors did it. )
( I guess nature is far more brutal. )
(Further, that I as a privileged person in the modern world…am privileged to have chickens as pets, and that we didn’t have to eat them.)
By the time I went in the coop to inspect, mom had already buried the chickens. It felt odd stepping in their fenced area as that portion of the backyard had been theirs for 5+ years for this generation and the last. Sure enough they really were gone.
The only evidence was fluffy white feathers from Edna, and orange-brown and white feathers from Nutmeg strewn about.
Hard to believe that they’re gone.
I’ve been looking to the coop, for the chickens out of habit through the kitchen window above the sink. A habit developed these past 5 years. They always had something going on, a project or task throughout the day. Each evening they’d march into their coop to perch on a branch at the top to sleep. The hens would huddle right next to another.
Mom doesn’t want to get new chickens and I don’t either, so this will likely be the last time I have chickens as a pet. It’s the only time I’ve had birds as a pet.
I’ll have to buy eggs at the store from now on…
Rest in peace: Nutmeg, Edna, and Betty.
I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been focused on work. It’s been massive life adjustment. Going from unemployed at home all day back to a 40 hour a week job in a new location is a complete change. I’ve been tired after work Also the whole lifestyle change outside of work. I’m handling it well, and doing well at my job. Another 6 weeks or so, and I’ll have energy to do activities during the week. Self care has been first priority.
Thanks for reading!
Sorry for your loss.
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Thanks, Brother’s Campfire. It’s a bitter ending to a sweet life of chickens.
I get it. I lost a goose in December and many others before that.
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So glad that you are spending time on self care, and coping with the work adjustment!
Very sad to read about your chickens though 😦 They become such a big part of our families, don’t they?
NutMeg is a nickname of mine, so it made me extra sad.
Really sorry, Reilly.
Thinking of you.
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