You’ve all heard me talk about our neighbours. They’re all kinds of awesome. All kinds, I swear. A couple of weeks ago they had a chicken who was going through a rough time. She was blind in one eye from some kind of infection, and the other chickens were giving her a run for her money (the term “henpecked” comes from somewhere and it sure isn’t pretty). She’d lost half of her comb, and her skull was visible in parts. Our lovely neighbours asked if we’d take her for a bit, to give her a reprieve from their birds who knew her place in line and were relentless in their attacks. Of course we agreed, and for a couple of days “Scabby” lived in our house. When our neighbours found out that “Scabby” wasn’t well enough to live outside with our other birds, they took her back and built her a lovely pen. They brought her over a dog house and made her feel special. Her comb healed over, her skin closed up and her feathers started growing back. We even decided that maybe we shouldn’t call her Scabby, so kind of renamed her Sorrel, but I don’t know if that’s really going to stick. A nickname’s a nickname, even if it’s not a nice one, right?
*Yes. All of this mimics schoolyard politics, nicknames and all. Yes, I feel emotional about it. Yes, she’s a chicken and I eat chicken. What’s your point?
Anyways, we ended up taking Scabby/Sorrel back last week. Chickens shouldn’t be all alone and our birds didn’t see her as the recluse nerd who deserved to be locked into her own locker. We were still trying to figure out how to encourage her to be social with the other birds, but she was a bit of a recluse. She may just have been smarter than them. She is a Houdini, and never ever seems to be in the pen, but is out wandering the garlic or the potatoes or the kale. We’ve never actually seen her escape, and none of the other birds get out. She’s just kinda like that.
Until today, when she wasn’t wandering and wasn’t clucking around with the other ladies either. Until today, when the remains of a white chicken was dropped, unceremoniously, onto our neighbours’ yard by an eagle. Until Scabby/Sorrel couldn’t be found and was determined to have died as she had lived – free.
Until she was found, hours later, wandering the garlic. Free. Alive.
I don’t know where this chicken got her lives, but she’s certainly got lots of them. And I’m sorry for whichever bird’s life ran out today… maybe that bird lived happily with it’s compatriots and was ready to go. Who knows.