Tuesday, March 6, 2012
And Then There Were Three
She was seven years old, as are the other three. I bought them as chicks, shipped from factory farms at one day old. It's one of the signs of spring around here, when the back room of the post office is alive with peeping baby chicks.
Chickens can have long lifespans, like dogs or cats, living 15-20 years. Those are mostly the specialty or "heritage" breeds. The factory-bred birds that were developed for egg-laying capabilities produce early and often, and typically die at far younger ages, usually by 4 years.
In 2005 I bought ten hens - five leghorns and five Aricaunas (the ones that lay green eggs.) Three are left - one leghorn and two Aricaunas. When they're gone, that's it. We don't use enough eggs to make it worth the trouble of cleaning the coop and buying grain.
I laid my little hen's body in the tangled growth in the tree line behind our property, as I have with dozens of others. Tomorrow she will be gone, not a feather left. I don't know what takes them, but suspect it's usually raccoons. Sometimes I prefer to let Nature work without knowing the details.