We lost her yesterday. It was very strange. A sad, sweet and funny event in our lives.
It was raining like cats and dogs. The weather gal had predicted and she was right. Windows were fogging up, cookies were baking in the oven (gingerbread with molasses no sugar) Hoody and Lilly, the two adopted female labs that belonged to our neighbor were sleeping at my feet. No gas attacks! Thank goodness for their meatless diets.
At about 3:30 PM Hoody, the younger one, started growling, then scratched on the screen door. She wanted out! The rain was pouring buckets of water and the sky was foggy and gray. I was in one of my do not distract moods. Writing a series of articles for LuxEcoLiving and The Huffington Post on a very hot topic. Pink slime. Beef that is tainted with chlorine bleach. Yuk!
“Out! I exclaimed, okay you can go out!” As I opened the door she swung it wide with her tail. In seconds she was gone.
I heard barking. Something was up. She ran in circles outside the house.
Then I heard her digging in the bushes. What was she looking for?
Always without a sound, Jim pulled up the driveway in our Prius. . He came in from the garage water-soaked and hungry. We sat at our little spot in the corner window and munched on organic lettuce with a killer ranch dressing. And then he noticed something was missing.
“Did you feed Chick today?” “Of course! Early this morning!” I answered. He looked out the kitchen window at the usual place where she comes for her scratch and said, “her food is gone she must have eaten .”
For months we never missed a feeding. Her bin was always freshly filled with scratch. She loved the corn kernels best. Even shared the seeds with other birds. She had her own pecking order. Appeared at our windows; sometimes I could see her from the bathroom, other times from the bedroom door. She was always there to remind us that it takes time to develop a relationship and once you do…. you fall in love. Well, sort of. But only if she would lay an egg. We had hoped for at least one.
Jim went to pour a cup of coffee and then noticed what at first appeared as a log, a piece of wood, something solid but unusual. But on closer observation it was not a log. It was Chick and she lay motionless.
“OMG!” I exclaimed and jumped to my feet.
Hoody and Lilly flew out the door and soon disappeared. They scoured the property barking incessantly as we paid our last respects. We could not believe our eyes. The truth be known she was was dead but in perfect condition. Not a feather out of place. No foul play! (pardon the pun).
We walked the whole area and could not find any signs of a struggle. Was this a case for NCI? Who or what killed Chick?
Google knows! After a few attempted searches and the right phrase I found a clue. Could it have been Sudden Chicken Death Syndrome? Chick was an older hen. Odds were against her. Bets were off about her being able to lay an egg. Everyone who ever visited the ranch after meeting Chick were so kind and loving.
“She’s just too old,” was the chorus of remarks. She was a wonderful pet. Didn’t expect much. Just scratch. Still, we never gave of hope. We even built her a nest, got straw from the local feed barn and placed a couple of man- made wooden eggs hoping they would encourage her to lay. Eggs.
Well, if I didn’t see them myself I would have never believed it possible. Strewn across the pathway to the front door were a line, no a stream of white egg shells. At least ten! Some were in near perfect shape and even had the semblance of the bright orange yolk left uneaten.
Hoody and Lilly discovered Chick’s stash. They must have had a pack.
In our grief we realized that she had been laying all along. She kept her end of the relationship and for that we are so very grateful. We will miss her beautiful feathers…but at least we know she layed eggs.
Woody Allen is often quoted for his classic ending in the movie, Annie Hall
A burial is being planned for Chick. Please no flowers or donations…. just send eggs.