Thursday, September 1, 2022

Grieving

I wish I did not have anything to talk about tonight. But the fact is, I do. It has been a hard day. 

This morning I went out to the hen house and coop to give the five chickens the kitchen scraps and some scratch and feed. As I approached the coop I saw feathers and my heart sank. 
"Oh no, oh no, oh no!" I chanted. Mr. Moon was right beside me, heading over to the garage. We went into the coop and at the far side of it was a dead chicken. And in the hen house itself another hen lay dead in a nest. 

I almost broke. I had truly thought they were safe in that space but to be honest, the screen door into the coop is warped and at the top there's a small space that we're pretty sure a raccoon got in to murder my babies. Liberace's tail feathers were all fucked up and I'm sure he put up a valiant fight but a raccoon is a powerful force of teeth and clever paws with claws. They can tear up a dog so you know they can decimate a chicken. Neither of the bodies were near the door and I am pretty sure the coon couldn't figure out how to get them out. As we all know, a raccoon can climb. Foxes can too but the trail cam which was trained on the other door, the solid door, showed so many raccoons sniffing around, trying to open it which they could not but the screen door was probably too easy. 

Both Glen and I are done. For now, at least. It's just too much. Liberace, Gracie, and the young one which I am now almost sure is a rooster, are the only ones left and we let them out of the coop this morning. Fuck it. If they're going to die, let them be free until they do. 

So yes. It's been a very sad day. Luckily I had Weatherford boy pick-up duty. That and their new kitten was a bit of a distraction. 



As I told Vergil today, that is the smallest cat I've ever seen not on its mama's titty. It is darling. The boys love her and want to name her Cherry. 

And this is how it's been today for me. There is such a heaviness on me. I have been keeping chickens for around thirteen years now. From that first batch of biddies that Kathleen brought over I have felt as if chickens were something I needed so much in my life. They helped me through that horrible period of anxiety I went through. They soothed my soul. They taught me so much, not just about chicken behavior, but about animal, and thus, human behavior. They have made me laugh, they have made me proud, they have made me feel as if something quite ancient in my woman's soul was finally satisfied. Their eggs have never ceased to be miracles in my palm and in my kitchen. The hatching of babies has been a wonder and a joy. Watching the way hens mother those babies has been an inspiration and an education. Their curious natures have shown me how important curiosity is in life, their attention and awareness of the smallest things they scratch for in the dirt, to the sounds of hawks overhead amazes me. The way a good rooster treats and watches out for his hens has humbled me. 

That's all I want to say tonight. 
Perhaps we shall miss chickens so much that we will figure out a way to keep them safe from critters who live around us. I hope so. But for now, we have these three left and I have little hope for their survival. 


These will probably be the last eggs in a bowl on my counter at least for now. No other eggs will ever taste as good. No other eggs will ever be as fine. 

This is hard, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon




35 comments:

  1. Ms Moon, I am so very sorry for your loss. This is just awful.

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  2. I'm so, so sorry Mary. This just fucking sucks. :(

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  3. I am truly heartbroken and feel your intense pain. I am so sorry, Ms. Moon.
    Susan M

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  4. Dammit. I’m so sorry.

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  5. That's just so sad. Nature is a cruel Mistress at times.
    Paranormal John

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  6. So many of us thought keeping the birds in the coop was the answer ... I am so sorry it has not proven to be the answer! Give yourself a bit of rest and see if the 3 remaining make it and decide if you want to go that route again!
    Love and hugs to you dear Mary!

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  7. Love and hugs. Holding space for you.

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  8. Dear Mary, I am so sad. I have loved your chickens and the joy they have brought. Damn! I even painted one in my covid journal- during lock down I so looked forward to your chicken stories , the wonder of the gem like eggs , Liberace so fine!!- they helped so much during the weirdest of all event in our lives. I am so sorry.

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  9. I'm so sorry and like the others have enjoyed your chicken stories. The tiny kitten is adorable.

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  10. I'm very sorry for your losses. It's so hard. I agree, let the remaining number play free while they can.

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  11. Oh I do feel for you. I’ve kept chickens over the years, stopped for a couple of years ( because it’s tough in the winter here in Ontario), then decided I needed them back in my life. I’m down to four and they’re molting, so very few eggs but they still get treats and will hopefully die of old age. I do hope your others manage to stay safe! - Jenn

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  12. I am very sorry that this has happened to you and Mr. Moon. You worked so hard to get to the bottom of it.

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  13. This is so sad. I want nothing more sad for us today or for a long time.

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  14. I’m so very sorry.
    Xoxo
    Barbara

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  15. I'm so sorry Mary. Sending hugs and love.

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  16. I echo everyone - so, so sorry. I'm grieving with you.

    Chris from Boise

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  17. I am so, so, sorry. Darn those wily racoons.

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  18. What an awful thing to find. Your heart must be breaking. Damn those racoons.

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  19. Oh Darling Mary, I'm so sad to hear this! I wish I had the words to mend your heartache. A whole bunch of us have shared in the joy of your chicks and now are sharing your sadness. I'm thankful those beautiful boys and sweet little Cherry-kitty brought a bit of love and light to your day.
    {{{HUGS}}} Angie D

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  20. Mary, I am SO sorry it's come to this. I know how much those chickens meant to you, and how much you valued them as a connection to Kathleen. Perhaps once this situation has cooled down (one way or another) you can reconsider keeping them. Is there any way to make the coop even more secure, or is there some kind of repellent to keep away raccoons/foxes? (I'm sure you've thought of all your options and you're probably tired of thinking about them by now.) Again, so sorry.

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  21. Awww, I'm so sorry. I know it's "nature" for the racoons to hunt/kill too, but dammit, why couldn't they leave your chickens alone!

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  22. Heartbreaking. 💔 I'm so very sorry. Mary

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  23. Oh honey. Rebecca

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  24. Oh Mary. How sad. Weird that you had chickens for 13 years and yes, occasionally losing one to a predator, but this, this systematic picking off of your entire flock. What the fuck? What changed? Surely there have been foxes and racoons during those 13 years.

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  25. Hi Mary, it's me Tom. Blogger doesn't think so oh well.
    So sorry about your loss. It is possible to make a pen that will keep the predators out. It's expensive but it can be done. Mr. Moon could do that. Mom and dad did it when I was young man growing up in Eastern Oregon. We seldom lost any.
    New Day tomorrow. Keep smiling.

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  26. If you find it hard to imagine your life without chickens, I find it hard-- maybe impossible-- to imagine reading your blog without chickens. This is not a reflection on you, but rather self-protection for me. I never realized how much the chickens were part of the attraction, but it turns out they were. There's just something about having birds around, even (especially?) the semi-domesticated ground-hugging sort.

    I recently asked a chicken-raiser to tell me something about chickens. (I can generally read a cat's mind-- and often a dog's-- but chickens are feathered mysteries.) He said: "Chickens are vegetables."
    But of course I know they are sentient beings who feel pain and experience fear and contentment, and I've come to learn (through you) that they have their individual chicken-circumscribed personalities.

    My gosh, even losing a shrub can be heart-rending. Sympathies to you.

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  27. Oh Mary- so sorry to hear your news- I couldn't even read it all. Sending you strength and good wishes.Wendy -South Africa

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  28. I am very sorry. I know how you loved those chickens.

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  29. Sorry for your loss Mary. In the years I have been reading your blog it became very clear that your hens were much more than "just chickens". Fingers crossed for the remaining three and a miracle too.

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  30. I'm a bit behind in reading and dread going to the next post in case they are all gone now. I remember when Miss Betty died - she's the first one of your chickens I remember dying. You've had many and if your heart isn't going to be in it at least for awhile, well, it's understandable.

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  31. I’m so so sorry to hear this x it’s heartbreaking to lose any animal but there’s a horrible mix of helplessness and fury that comes when you lose chickens to predators -it feels so unfair xxxx sending love from the UK x sally

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  32. 37paddington: I’m so sorry, Mary.

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