Monday, April 19, 2010

A passing at Wonky Farm

I was never much of an animal person until I met my wife. Now, I am surrounded by them. There are some I could take or leave. The chickens are the toughest. We have two dozen or so. I don't know which name goes with who, especially the Rhode Island Reds and the white roosters. But White Chick was different. We adopted her and her sister to try to correct the disparity between roosters and hens. They never had names. Always, the White Chicks. They were cuter than hell. Always palling around together, kind of distancing themselves from the herd... or flock, as it were. They laid the biggest, whitest eggs. And yeah, even chickens have personalities. The late and not particularly lamented Teddy killed off one of the white chicks. He may not have been fleet of foot, but he could get motivated sometimes. We knew that about him even before we brought him home. That's how Bea is. The remaining white chick seemed lost for a while. Off by herself. She stopped laying and went into mourning. A rooster would come on to her, literally and she tolerated it.

One day, a couple three weeks ago, I saw her walking around aimlessly. She was badly bruised, looking a little like Jake LaMotta after a particularly bad beating. It looked like one of her eyes had been plucked out. Probably from the spoils of love. We brought her up into the house and gave her some much needed R&R in a dog crate. She healed up a bit. Her eye hadn't been poked out, after all. But she was blind in it. We brought her back down to join the lower flock. She was kind of comical, the way she twisted her head to get maximum visibility out of her good eye. But, you know, it wasn't all that funny. The animal world is different. Sometimes, it can be brutal as hell. She adjusted to living with one good eye, stuck in the midst of the flock to avoid being done by a rooster and generally seemed alright.

This morning, on my way out to a doctor's appointment, Bea told me to make sure the area we keep the hay and supplies and stuff was secured from the goats. I found White Chick on the hay bale, some straws of hay over her. She was still alive when I found her. I ran up the hill, closed the gate, and bounded in the house.

"Bea!" I yelled. "You have to come down... now!"

She hung up the phone and came down. I had to go. I called her from the parking lot, before going i to the hospital for x-rays (another story) and she told me White Chick had passed away.

I came home after my appointment and took some post-mortem pics of White Chick. Bea had put her in a cat carrier and rigor mortis had set in. She was hard to get out of the carrier. I took the pictures and brought her down the hill, awaiting burial. She'll be with her sister soon.

1 comment:

Davaudian said...

Nature is cruel. We live inside the laws of nature and survival of the fittest. It's tough to be reminded of that, but the farm life is full of life and death. Growing up on a farm outside of Nashville, the cruelty is subsidized by the beauty of the times when all is well with the universe however brief. But, nature never forgets that there is a job to do.

You should check your rooster ratios...chickens are an odd bunch. I always disdained them, but they tasted pretty good.