“It’s a kind of a hard world, after all, ain’t it?” – Mark Twain, Buck Fanshaw’s Funeral
Roxanne Chicken is dead. And I don’t know why.
Regular readers know Roxanne has been confined to a cage in my office for several weeks due to a severe case of bumblefoot. She had been to Pikes Peak Veterinary Clinic for surgery and was healing well. In fact, today was the day she was supposed to break out of her cage and rejoin the flock outside. Her foot was all healed and her molted feathers grown back in.
Here she is lounging on the deck in the summer.
We had fun in those weeks while she was healing. Every morning I would come into her room and say, “Good morning, Chicken!”, and she would greet me with loud clucking. I would open the blinds and let her out of the cage so she could peck around the room while I cleaned out her living space.
She liked to start fights with her reflection until she realized that other chicken was behind a wall.
During the day I would come in every few hours to give her vegetables and straighten up her cage a bit. She liked to greet me with clucking and enthusiastic eating.
At night I would let her out of the cage again.
She was especially funny at night. She would fly up onto the door of the cage and then fly across the room to my desk, where she liked to roost on a box until I put her back in the cage to roost on her yardstick for the night.
Friday night, I let her stay on the box for a while. In fact, almost forgot to put her in her cage.
I’m glad I let her have that extra time. I’m glad I took her outside for a few minutes yesterday too. It was cold, but she got to be in the sun one last time. I knew she wasn’t feeling well. She spent half the day on her yardstick and didn’t want to eat.
This morning, I opened the door to the office and said, “Good morning, Chicken!,” but there was only silence. I glanced under the cage cover to find she had fallen off the roost sometime in the night. She was dead.
How could this happen? She was doing so well. She was in my house, under my watchful eye and almost ready to go back outside.
We always want to explain it, but you can’t explain death. No amount of medical information explains how a lively living being makes the transition to something inert.
I’ll take her little body to a place called Homeward Bound today, where they can cremate it. I’ll clean up the office and save a few feathers. We will miss her, like we miss every other animal we’ve lost on the Homestead and every person we’ve lost in our lives.
And I’ll take it as just one more reminder that it is kind of a hard world.
© 2013 Hungry Chicken Homestead
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