As some of you know, this weekend we lost our pet chicken, Lucy.
We had just come back from a morning errand and breakfast run, and I walked out to the coop to bring Lucy a treat (some leftover fruit and veggies from our breakfast). Since she wasn't out in her run, I called out to her as I approached the coop, to get her to come outside.
"Brrrrr....chick chick chick chick!" "Brrrr....c'mon girl! C'mon down, Lucy, I've got some nice treats for you!"
She didn't come down, and a quick inspection of the coop revealed that she wasn't there. She was simply gone.
So there I was, just holding this bowl and realizing that she was gone, and likely never coming back. I thought about when the last time was that I saw her, and realized that maybe she had flown away (yeah, I could say 'flown the coop') and was hiding in the bushes somewhere. I looked around a bit more as I walked back to the house.
What would I say to my daughter?
What would I say to everyone? I had no thoughts other than I needed to tell my family. I broke it to them as gently as I could and then tried to push on with my day.
We had made plans the night before to finally go to the store and get Lucy some company. The local Tractor Supply store had just gotten some new chicks, and we were thinking about going the next day to pick up a few babies to raise. Now we had to decide - should we get some chicks now, or wait until we've had a chance to mourn?
After some thought, we decided to go get some chicks the following day. The coop would remain empty for a little while (they would be too small to go outside for a few weeks) and it would help us, and the kids, move past this quickly.
That didn't stop me from feeling pretty sad. She was a joy to have around, and I loved looking into her bright eyes and seeing peace. I will miss Lucy, but now we've got Rosie, Jenna and Sunshine to think about and take care of.
After some searching around the property, we did find a few torn feathers. Based on some books I've read, that usually means an early morning coyote or fox had gotten her, and dragged her away to be eaten. They are most active in the morning. Dogs (like the one that got her sister, Kooky) apparently are more likely to just kill a chicken and leave it; they hunt for sport.
Part of having a pet chicken is the understanding that many, many creatures (including some humans) find chickens to be an easy, tasty meal. I accept this fact and know that although they *could* live as long as 10 years on their own, the fact that she only lived 2 is not so unusual. That doesn't stop me from being pretty broken up about it, and now every time I look at the coop standing their empty I get sad again.
Rest in peace Lucy.
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