Good-Bye Red

3.02.2009


When i got her she was three days old. she was solid black and as she grew, the black moved further down her back as her neck got redder and redder. finally, the black was only the tail feathers. so we called her "Red". she was the sweeter one; i.e. the one NOT called "mean dovey cooledge". She would nestle up against me and put her head under my chin. she was the better layer; giving her last egg this past saturday.

She was killed today by a smallish falcon. When we found her she was still warm and the falcon had just torn her heart out. It flew off as we approached. her eyes were covered by that thin purpley veil of an eyelid and her mouth was open and filled with dirt. i picked her up and looked at her for the longest time. feathers were all around. i wouldnt let V take her and bury her. i told him to leave her so the falcon could come back and eat her. and return it did. i watched as he ripped her apart. i couldnt not look. it was the only way i could get all right with the loss of my pet, to see the falcon have his meal.

we just went out with a flash light. i was hoping to see her one more time; or what was left.
but the falcon had taken her away.

Good-bye to my sweet red bird. She would have been 5 years old later this month.

40 comments:

  1. Oh my God , that is just too much sadness to absorb, I am so sorry for you my sweet girl and such an awful way for your sweet red bird to go.
    What a horrible day I don't know what else to say to comfort you, only that I know the pain of losing a beloved pet and its heartbreaking. ♡

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  2. thank you dianne. i dont know what mean dovey cooledge is going to do. they have always been together. and she wont settle down tonight shes pacing around and ripping up the paper in her pen. tomorrow will be so weird for her. i just dont know what to do. i am very sad. i know it was just a chicken but i knew and loved that bird. your words are a comfort. thank you so much.

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  3. you are certainly true to principle. got no words.


    sorry....

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  4. Of course, you loved her, and of course she wasn't just a chicken. These animals we take into our lives, regardless for how long or for what purpose, they DO become part of our families and their loss, even if it's nature's way, is always an awful thing. Heartfelt hugs from Moi to you and V, Dovey, and Trout. Rest in peace, lil' Red.

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  5. I know you loved her and as moi said she wasn't just a chicken, she was your little red hen, part of your family just like a child, they do so grow on our hearts. I was so upset when I read it I was crying and I said to my son how unfair nature can be at times and how Dovey will be lost without her friend. I don't know what you can do there to make her settle I guess just make a fuss of her.
    You are brave I could not stand there and watch that falcon eat her. I would have held her for the longest time, wrapped her in some soft cloth and buried her in the warm earth...I know it is natures way but I would not let him take her.
    I am so very sorry for you sweet girl, my condolences to you,V, Dovey and Trout.
    Rest in peace , Lil Red hen, now your spirit can fly. ♡

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  6. i'm so very, very sorry ..
    she was not just a chicken ..
    she was your beloved pet.

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  7. I'm so sorry auntie. I love you so very much and am sending you all of my love.

    Feeding Red some peanut butter was the coolest thing I've ever experienced. It is a special story given to me by a special bird.

    I love you and am sending you all of my love. Much love.

    MUUUUUUAAAAHHH!!

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  8. Oh honey, I am sooo very sorry.

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  9. aw Puddin'....Red was a lovey, I know youse gonna miss her. It's beautiful that ya understand the falcon, too. Will a new chick be of any hep wif' MDC?

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  10. boney: thank you. it has always been a risk: do we keep the chickens penned at all times, or do we allow them some free range time so they can get to fresh grasses and find bugs and move about? we chose freedom. and we've been lucky for a long time.

    moi: its true. i love her so much and i miss her. putting dovey out this morning she was so alone and i saw her in the coop just standing in the middle. its cold this morning and normally, she and red would huddle together for warmth. i just dont know how she will fair. thank you so much, moi. your words are a balm.

    dianne: you said it "she was my little red hen" and what pretty little eggs she laid. i just picked up all the left over feathers and will use them in an art piece somehow. i so appreciate your words.

    foamy thank you for understanding. chickens are such sociable interesting pets -very engaging. and red - lets face it -was the better one. i love dovey too, though. but she doesnt lay anymore.

    short! im so glad you got to meet her and feed her. i appreciate you being here since you know red. uncle V was VERY upset last night and he was so sweet to me. his heart is broken too. thank you for calling. we love you, sweet pea. xo

    j cosmo newberry: yes, indeed. thank you for commenting. and letting me know you were here.

    dani: i hoped youd come by. well it is the risk isnt it? i am getting new chicks this year but i know i cant let them be together until the chicks are grown, and even then Dovey probably wont accept them (i have tried in previous years) i worry this will be a very lonely chicken. i put her in with trout last night so at least shed have another animal. but today, in the cold.......she just looked so bereft. (or am i projecting?) thanks so much for you comment.

    aunty: oh aunty. thanky. i will try with the new chicks, but i do worry dovey will be lonely. i have wondered...should i just free range her all day? shes in her pen now. alone. jus terrible.

    naw, aunty, i couldnt fault the falcon. a beautiful thing-reminded me of an egyptian sculpture i know -the big legs and streamlined wings...


    thank you everyone this helps me so much. xoxoxox

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  11. You're an amazing woman...to let the falcon have its meal.
    It is possible to feel pain at the loss of a love without feeling malice toward the natural force that took the love from you.
    There is a ballance to life, even if in the short term, we find it hard to see.

    Ecclesiastes 3. 1-8

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  12. gnome: beautifully stated. thank you, friend. these words heal. xo

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  13. I'm very sorry to hear about your loss but express admiration for your method of dealing with it and your concern for MDC.

    Pretty sure chickens have very short memories, so, hopefully, MDC will be back to normal soon.

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  14. Nature is an amazing process. Flowers and snow one day, a falcon hurtling from the sky and a lonely Dovey the next. I know how much all birds mean to you. I know the heartache you are feeling right now. 5 years of eggs and joy, that's a sweet life for a chicken. I think Dovey might surprise you.

    Like you, I wished I lived next door so I could bring you comfort food. (Can't be my "go to" comfort meal, because, well....it's just not appropriate for this particular situation if you get my drift)

    Sending you a digital bearhug and nice Top Pot donut.

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  15. Hello Braveheart!
    Bravo to you for having the courage to allow Reds passage be for something and not for nothing.
    I would not care to imagine how it felt to stand looking at your beloved hen while making such a tough decision.

    Your art tells me you have a unique unity with Mother Nature, and a deep understanding of her order. Your ability to respect those beliefs in the face of such a gruesome loss is an enormous tribute to you.

    MDC will likely recover from this life changing event. Your descriptions of her gives the impression she is a tough little survivor.
    I am not so sure about your Big Dog, it may be the burial would have comforted him. Hopefully the art you will make from Red's feathers will ultimately prove to be of greater comfort to him, and for you as well.

    You are in my heart, and in my prayers today ,
    peace be with you.

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  16. /t: thank you so much. i appreciate you coming by and leaving me a heart. xo

    chef troll: thank you so much. it means a lot. i hope you are right about MDC -she was backed up into the corner of her coop not even on the perch. on a cold morning they would huddle together for warmth. maybe i should just free range her all day - but i suspect after seeing red get it (they were always together) she'll just stay under the car. thank you so much for coming by. xo

    shamu: we its been a rough week or two, has it not? thank you for the virtual hugs and your kind words. it is a shame we arent all closer together. i could really appreciate your quiet company on this day. thank you so much. i am bluer than i thought i would be. xo

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  17. fishy: i was quiet shocked to see Big DOgs (V's) reaction. it has been a hard week for him as well. the fact that i am packing my studio up to transfer to chickory has not been a happy scene. he doesnt have the option to escape to the natural world. he loves the chicks though he likes to complain about them (the shitresses) he would fix them little gourmet plates of greens and seeds, peanut butter and fruit. all very nicely plated. he declined to watch the falcon eat red. i had to look. we are truly the yin and yang

    thank you fishy, for your kind words about art and nature. i did collect the feathers this morning. they are so beautiful. she was a lovely bird. xo

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  18. I don't have words. I am shocked at the cruelty of nature and overwhelmed with your strength to stay and watch.

    I remember the seagull on the beach with the starfish.

    Tears for your Red and for you, K9.

    I just wished I lived closer too.

    Get your chicks and get to Chickory.

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  19. Oh Chickory how sad is this. I am so sorry for your loss, for the sweet Red hen who gave her life and I want you know that the fact that you watched and didn't feel anger, revenge or spite toward the falcon filled my heart with the biggest brightest hope. I would want to be just like you.

    I do hope in time Mean Dovey Coolidge adjusts also to her loss and so wonderful that you were able to collect some of sweet Red's feathers.

    This post touched me deeply on so many levels you really are truly at one with nature and I admire that so much.

    love & hugs form the gang at Black Street

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  20. boxer: *sniff* thank you so much, i wish you lived next door. or we were in our little blogger commune. *sigh* i went home and dovey was just making the same sound over and over. i think that is keening -chicken style. xo dear friend

    susan: its so bad! i loved that bird so much. but there wasnt anyway to be angry at the falcon - it was beautiful and an accomplished hunter. it just is how it is and theres nothing to be done about it. thank you for your kind words and for being here today. love to all at 29 black street. xo

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  21. Just checking back in to see how you and MDC and Big Dog are weathering this day. I guess we are at the "it is better to have loved...." thing.

    PLEASE give MDC some peanut butter, I cannot stand the thought of a chicken "keening" and yet...have you seen the films of elephant burials? I cried. I guess I don't really want to deprive MDC of her right to grieve or keen as needed but...wince...it sure is a tough vision to think about.

    When a friend of mine lost the mate to her cockatoo, she bought one of those pocket animals you stuff with a hot water bottle. She says it was the fluffy warmth that calmed the remaining bird. Might be useless info but I thought I would share on the off chance....

    Love and hugs to you all

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  22. fishy: im going home now. i will spoil dovey. tomorrow i will take her out into the field with me so she can spread her wings out and get some sun. thats how they get the much needed vitamin D required for wings strength and to form eggs. but doveys eggs have always been thin shelled and rarely have made it to the fridge.

    thank you so much for checking in. yep, still hurts.

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  23. Fishy makes a good suggestion about the hot water bottle. A poor subsitute, but still.... *sniff* Let her fly, love her and let her know she's not truly alone.

    Either are you. Or Big Dog.

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  24. boxer: you are such a golden hearted boxer! when i got home i got dovey and i put her inside my jean jacket with the shearling inside. and she nestled in there and stayed for a while. she must feel so lonely. i just put her in her pen and i know its terrible for her. all alone. maybe i will put her in with trout again tonight.......

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  25. just checking in, sweetie ..
    i kind of hate to bring this up..
    but what if the hawk comes back? where there was one easy meal there might be another.

    poor dovey ..
    animals do feel loss..

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  26. Such kindness in this blogger group.

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  27. foamy: thank you my friend - i so appreciate you stopping by. youre the perfect example of what the anon says: another heart of gold. and a brilliant movie melder ;-) yes, i have considered it. i mean, what can i do? the hawks and the falcons will be back -they are all over this neighborhood -trout and i see them all the time on our walks. and you know im glad theyre here for the most part. i cant keep the chicks penned all the time -its not good for them. i will just have to supervise them better. as it was we went years where the hens ranged freely in this yard for days at a time. they just pace around in the pen fussing to get out. so........xo foamy.

    anon: yes there is - the best.

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  28. I know this sounds crazy, but what about a feather duster and a heated wheat bag or hot water bottle, something for Dovey to snuggle up to. ♡

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  29. Wow. I am so sad to hear this. I wish I could protect all the pets in the world from harm and death.
    I can't even mention a horrible story on the local news 2 weeks ago about a poor, innocent cat and what these monster teenage boys did to it. (I'm getting frustrated and teary-eyed just thinking of it.)

    All animals are very special and anyone who is willing to open their hearts to them is okay in my book.

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  30. K9,
    Been busy today...but I did want to stop in to send hugs to you and the Big Dog and MDC.

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  31. Just checking in. Big hugs to you today. :)

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  32. dianne: i tried the heated wheat bag -what an inspired idea! but she didnt want to be with it. however, she has been hanging around with Trout and me more. yesterday i was messing around thinking about putting in a flower garden closer to the cabin and she came out and started scratching about.

    kmwthay: that cat story is disturbing because torturing animals is step one towards violence against people. very sad. thank you for stopping by.

    mayden: thank you. i really miss her. but today i may pick out a few new chicks. we'll see what the feed n seed has..........

    fishy: today i staked out the garden plot. i turned over the soil and found it to be nice and crumbly with earthworms. i think ive got a good starting point! i also identified lots of black berry brambles in my hedgerow -gotta keep an eye on those. MDC is being a bit more sociable these days. not surprising. i can tell shes lonely. thanks for checkin in.

    dani: hey, and thanks. i was looking at my pet chicken last night - i think i will probably get something at the local feed n seed. of course thats kind of pot luck. all i can identify as chicks are polish cresteds...they look loke little frankenstein chicks. hahaha


    thank you ALL so much. youve been so sweet

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  33. Peep peep...peep peep...hes' checkin' in.

    HUgs

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  34. K9, glad to learn yu made your way to Chickory. May it soothe you and MDC. Great news about your plot
    location, how did you work out the water the garden from the stream issue?

    I don't know about your little mountain town, but some of the most charming ones over here in the Carolinas have a farm to restaurant co-op .... the restaurants proudly proclaim the local produce stature of these menu items. Big favorites are as you would expect, not what is in the grocery store. Things like those little yellow pear tomatoes like Belle grows, little fingerling eggplants or squashes,
    and of course, being in the South, lots of beans and peas are sold to the meat and three with tea folks.

    Bet MDC appreciates you turning over the worms!!!! Hope your day is sunny .... you getting your studio set up in Chickory?

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  35. K9,
    new post up at the Pond, it will do you good to come by and have a laugh.

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  36. peep, peep, peep. I saw your comment at Fishy's. Baby chicks, soon?? :-)

    Keep those hands in the dirt. It's healing.

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  37. i am filled with tears for you and your hen.. I am a bird lover of any kind and although never had a hen pet I can imagine she was a darling. I think the hardest thing for me loving animals is that nature is so cruel in the end. ALthough my rational mind says that its ok my nurturing mind says it horrible. I will say a little hen prayer for you today and now my post means more to me... glad to know you as well!
    Marianne

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