Friday, September 13, 2013

R.I.P. Blanche

Blanche's need for independence caught up to her this week. Most evenings, I would find her roosting in the pine tree above the chicken run. But my husband heard a howling noise in the night and woke up to find a bunch of feathers blowing around near the dog's run, where I'd never seen her. When my husband let the dogs out, they immediately led him to a section of the fence where Blanche lay dead, her neck broken.

Of course I question myself on this.

I've reintroduced Blanche to the flock several times, only to see her relentlessly picked on. It's something I cannot tolerate. When I'd open the door to the coop to let her decide if she wanted to go in or not, 9 times out of 10 she wouldn't. On the rare occasion when she did go in, the flock ganged up on her. I'd find her in a nesting box, ducking blows, or trying to get food, but getting pecked for her efforts.

She had made a home in the loft above the flock last year and this year, in the compost pile, where she'd layed eggs this summer and tried to hatch them. She never left the yard. 

Was she better on her own or should I have forced her to live with the flock? If this were an obit, would it read, She lived life on her own terms, and died doing what she loved best?

She was a hen with issues and I did what I thought was best for her. At 5 years old, she was among the oldest in my flock. She was so tough, surviving through winters out in the run on her own, that I was surprised and saddened when my husband told me he'd found her.

R.I.P. Blanche. I'm sorry if I did you wrong.

This summer, Blanche disappeared for a day or two. I finally found her in living in the compost pile behind the run. sitting on some eggs she had layed. I will miss your crazy ways, Blanche.