Thursday, December 11, 2014

Chickens And Grief

My heart is breaking a little bit this morning.
Our routine around here is to let the chickens out from the hen house into the coop so that they can eat and get water in there before we let them out for the day.
Usually, by the time we're ready to let them out into the yard, Elvis is crowing and waiting at the door and is always the first one out. Today, he did not want to leave the hen house. He stood in the doorway and looked around and then kept turning back. The young hens did come out to peck at the scratch I threw them but he just didn't want to and the old hens didn't want to leave the hen house either.
I went and got a few Cheerios and threw them outside the door and the old hens carefully ventured out but he stayed inside and made his "danger" noise and all of the hens rushed back inside or took cover in the nearby thickets. And he stayed in.
I watched for a little while and he did finally come out but instead of stopping for scratch and calling the hens to join him, headed into the thicket himself which is not his usual pattern of behavior at all.

Does he know that one of his hens is gone?
It surely seems as if he does.

And all of this reminds me that we need to raise up another rooster and I doubt that ever in this world will we find a rooster as smart and brave and bold and gentle as our Elvis.


  1. I think they do know something is not right. My chicken has been acting like an old mother hen to the new one. She seems to be more leery and doesn't come to eat as often. I hope your flock will be back to normal soon. Gail

  2. Mary, so sorry to read about Miss Bob. Your flock is grieving along with you. Hope they are back to their normal routine soon.


  3. Ah, I'm sorry. What a great death for a chicken, though, not to mention a beautiful life. Your chickens are the luckiest hens in the world.

  4. Oh yes I am sure they know that one is gone. Of course they do.

  5. Well, that's wild. And I hope that Elvis can be some sort of Methusalen Rooster.

  6. Your description of Elvis ... it made me think yet again that our animals all have such different personalities. You'd think a cat would be a cat or a chicken would be a chicken, but there they are, some bold, some mean, some gentle, some timid or needy or aloof. Just like people.

  7. It never occurred to me that chickens can grieve but of course they do. Bless them.

  8. Oh Elvis, honey, I understand.

  9. I read this yesterday but couldn't comment because my heart was broken about it.
    If it has a name and eyeballs and an inability to speak, I'm going to be sad when it dies.

  10. Gail- It makes me happy to think that the older hen has adopted the younger one. Yes, she is probably watching out for her.

    Mel- They are happy today. Back to normal. But yesterday they were definitely off.

    Jo- Well, maybe not the luckiest but their lives do not suck.

    Jill- Elvis surely did.

    Elizabeth- Me too! I know he's aging though. I hardly ever see him fuck a hen anymore. Do they make rooster pills for roosters?

    jenny o- Absolutely!

    ditchingthedog- We know that dogs can. And elephants. We should not be surprised that chickens can too.

    Angie D- I think we all can.

    Ellen Abbott- I agree.

    Heartinhand- Would that include Dick Cheney?


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.