About Me

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Portland, OR, United States
I am finishing up my midwifery apprenticeship and plan to be a real midwife early in 2014!

Friday, June 1, 2007

RIP Thelma

Last Friday night, we were at the OPF conference, and we didn't get home until about 10:15. It hasn't been getting really dark until 9:30 here lately, and the chickens go into their house at about 9. Well, I knew something was up when I got home---three of the hens were out. They just don't go outside when it's that late unless there's something wrong. They're quite the creatures of habit, one being that when the sun is gone, they are in bed. No exceptions.

So, I called Paul out, because last time a hen was out there was a possum hanging out in their coop. Not doing any damage, really, a possum would have to be really hungry to try to eat a hen (though they love to destroy a nest full of eggs) but enough to freak out Louise, who often sleeps on the floor. (The rest always perch higher up.) So, Paul came out and opened up the coop door (because I *hate* seeing that possum!) and called back that no possum was in there....only a bunch of feathers and one chicken. So the one chicken plus the three that were out is only 4...then one more came out of the dark and joined us, and then there were five. When I'd left that evening there were six. We searched all over, but saw a trail of feathers that lead out of the coop a little way. We definitely feared the worst, but hoped that Thelma had found a safe place to roost and she'd come back in the morning.

Next morning still no Thelma, and we saw that the trail of feathers led to the back corner of the yard, where there's a little gap in the fence and behind that blackberry bushes gone wild. So now we pretty much knew that Thelma was a goner. I'm pretty sure it was a raccoon that took her.

Fast forward to this morning. We'd hoped that Thelma would come back, but not like this....A neighbor, one who knows everything that happens in this neighborhood, rang the doorbell and knocked on the door. A dead chicken in your backyard! Oh, no, not another one.....so we went and looked and there was Thelma, or what was left of Thelma. Poor Thelma. All her mourning chicken friends were communing with her, or on her....well, that's just what chickens do. Paul has a theory that if we died in the backyard they'd come eat us.

I am guessing that the raccoon came again (or whatever it was) and dragged her body out to get the last bits off of her.

Paul very kindly again took care of the dead chicken and put the carcass in a bag. We are hoping to get an ugly, spikey tree pulled up this afternoon and plant instead a cherry tree, and Paul had the idea of burying Thelma in the hole before we plant.
I am sad about Thelma but I do have to acknowledge that this is just the circle of life. Life cannot exist without other life dying. Even though I'm a vegetarian, I acknowledge that other life is taken in order for me to live. And raccoons need to eat too. (Or whatever it was.)


DebD said...

So sorry for the loss of your hen.

Mimi said...

Oh no, I'm so sorry to hear.

Susan said...

so sorry