Yesterday I went out to see my hens and  I counted them like I always do – 1,2,3,4,5,6,7.  Not unusual, one’s usually upstairs in the hen house.  I went to open the door to check for eggs and got that feeling…I saw Lydia laying oddly in an unusual spot…and not moving.  Oh No my heart said as it sank.

Yes, keeping chickens is fun and rewarding.  We’ve got more eggs than we know what to do with.  When I started keeping chickens everyone told me about how easy it is.  Well it is both of those things, but it’s also work.  Actually a lot more work than I intended, not physically, but emotionally.  Chickens are really beautiful little creatures with their own personalities each.  I have a couple, Hawk and Legendary that run up to me when I go out, not for the food I’ve got in my hand, but for pets.  The tiniest bird, Stubborn a Silverlaced Bantam is one of the meanest of the bunch, and Lucy, my Rhode Island Red holds that spot – she’s the meanest ginger you’ve ever seen, pecking feathers out of Hawk and Spicoli’s heads just for fun.  And then there’s Cotton Ball, my dumb blonde, Baby – the scaredy cat.  And until yesterday, Lydia (She’s the one I named Easter Morning after Lydia Deetz), who any time I went to touch her crouched down with her wings out, I guess what chickens think of as their defensive stance…which it hardly is.  But I’ve gotten off the subject of Lydia and the real reason for this post.

Chickens will normally let you know if something’s wrong with them.  If you spend enough time with them you get to know their habits and quirks.  You can see if somethings…off.  When I put them in the night before, Lydia was absolutely fine.  Had been running around like normal all day, and the day before.  Judging from where she was laying, I think she died while she was sleeping, and fell off the roost.  Visually, there wasn’t anything wrong with her.  And it because it’s been raining on and off here lately, it hasn’t been that hot.  So it’s a mystery.  Then I started thinking, was she eating enough? Yes, Had she been sluggish, No.  It wasn’t that hot…What could it be?  The thing is, I don’t know.  It bothers me, but I have to accept it.  When you have animals, and as many as we do, death is a part of life on this little “suburban farm”.  And the just not knowing…that’s a part of life here too.

That’s Lydia, in the middle.

Lydia’s Song – sung to the sound of a ukulele

Lydia, Oh Lydia, your pretty comb fell to the right

Shiny, Black and Regal, with pristine eggs of White

One of my original Easter Five,

I wish you were still alive,

I miss you dear, wish you were here

and hadn’t died Friday Night.

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