MarvHen was the last of our original chickens. And while the chickens we’ve added alongside her received names from our kids, I don’t remember them. I’m not sure anyone does at this point.
I’ve come to learn that our animals aren’t pets; they are a responsibility. I love them, but it’s different than loving our dog Jersey The Pitbull (who would totally love to kill all of the chickens). Jersey is a member of our family; MarvHen provided our family delicious eggs for three years. Jersey’s death will be a sad day at our family. MarvHen’s death is like hearing the news that some not-too-close friends are moving away. A bummer, but time and people and chickens and life and death march on.
The chickens keep me in tune with the time the sun sets and the flight paths of birds of prey. Our family coordinates their care. Did you put the chickens up? Did someone feed the chickens? They have personalities and a pecking order. They are social and once joined a golf party in our neighbors’ yard, staying out too late and overnighting in the fencerow. We’ve laughed and cursed and worried about the chickens. Now we have one less chicken to worry about.
We’ve had six chickens die. One went missing (I like to think she is living some grand Disney animal adventure), one was killed by a hawk, two died of illness, I put our rooster out of his misery, and MarvHen died of natural causes. But really, what we’ve learned from the chickens is that every cause of death is a natural cause. That death is natural.
The pic on the left is of me moving MarvHen to the barn for the winter from her free-range paradise in the woods. The pic on the right is of me carrying her to her final resting place in the woods, an offering to the hawks, owls, and eagles who hoped Marvin’s life would sustain theirs.