Last Sunday morning, I arose late and finally went to feed the hens and let them out for the day. Imagine my surprise when they were all by the porch steps. Well, not all of them. One little one was not present. I just fed them their oats by the porch steps. Hoping against hope, I started to the pen. The last little one, started to eat, but when I passed her on the way out back to the pen, she came right beside me, walking in the position where a dog would heel. She did not run into me and cross in front, almost tripping me as the little ones always do. As I looked down and watched her, she seemed to be possessed of a mission.
She was so different than usual. I went into the pen and she came in, also. I looked around and noticed she was looking around also, not walking around, just turning her head and body, barely moving her feet. We trampled on the little, delicate, yellow feathers. We were both hoping that the other little one was somewhere, just anywhere. We were sad. It was evident from our long walk and time in the pen all this disturbed her.
I have learned that chickens have real feeling of loss. When Thelma was the last left after something ate Pepper, and I killed Louise the same day, Thelma just sat and moped on the table. Only her wanting to kill new girl Patsy Cline helped her out of her depression and loneliness. Unfortunately, rage was the antidote. Hate gave her a new reason to live, but the next night, they cuddled.
Last Sunday night, I could have sworn that I closed the door to the pen. Then, I started imagining someone was opening the door to cause mischief. But, that is not true. It was my fault.
This last little one better be a girl. She is almost the size of Patsy Cline. She is already as tall as Patsy Cline, but is not as sturdy looking. The comb is showing and still very pale pink.
Once again, I am sure some of you understand predators and mistakes. Those who don't, just keep it to yourselves. I am not in the mood. Do you ever realize that even a chicken, can grieve and look for the lost one? Do you ever sense that the others look to you for help, yes, even a chicken?