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Farewell my feathered friend

A very sad day indeed, for me! I have lost my special and favourite chicken – Ruby! We believe she was taken by a local wild cat or badger. She had this naughty tendency to wander out of the garden. She found a gap in the back fence and almost daily we had to look for her out in the church field. Sometimes she took the other two stooges with her as back up, so she wasn’t the only one who was blamed! But yesterday was a different day – she was with us all day and only went missing when the sun went down. It had been raining heavily so we knew she could not fly back over the fence with her rain-drenched feathers. We went looking for her our my gum boots on and with a super powerful torch that light up the fields and beyond – but to no avail. I knew she was cold and wet so at midnight – Hannes and I went out again!! But nothing ……

Early this morning I went out – the same route and there found a patch of feathers. It was Ruby’s! Then we knew she did not have a fighting chance!

I want to remember the playful and cheeky chicken that found her way into my heart the day I picked her from a large clutch of chicks! We had chosen two of them and the second one died before we could name her! So Ruby was alone! She peeped and peeped in her small play pen all forlorn, so every morning she came into bed with us and cuddled under the blanket. To this day, she used to jump on my lap for a snuggle and a cuddle! Just like a little dog! She loved the colour blue – so where ever the blue blanket was, you would find Ruby scratching on it – even if she found it on the bed! She had the full use of the house – she never messed and was always searching and looking for a nook to climb into. Often she would be in the spare room, in a box or between the books on the shelf! We used to scare each other sometimes! I would not know she was sitting there and we would both squack and scream and run out! So funny!

[one_half]Ruby on the left at 2 weeks old[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Ruby in the middle[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Ruby when she was sick[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Ruby how I will remember her[/one_half_last]

She would only allow me to hold her without making a huge fuss. There was a time when she was ill. Would not move only lay there. I did not think she would make it. She sat next to me in my office – on the blue blanket – and she would jump up on my lap and perch on my arm. It took two full days before she recovered. It was touch and go, though. But that was the only time she was ever ill – always healthy, always hungry and the first one out in the morning and the last one in at night! She was so cheeky – she was always trying to jump the fence to get to the veggie patch – remember? She was the reason I had to enforce the “feather duster”!! She had loads of character and knew she could get away with murder sometimes!

So – those were the good memories and I will never forget her! She was a special friend!


By Barbara

Country living is the best! Being a true spirit of the earth, my garden is all about vegetables and fruit trees and herbs and chickens roaming free. I was keen to really start gardening when we moved to Philadelphia in 2005, but not your typical suburban-type garden – sterile and bug-free! I wanted an edible garden.

19 replies on “Farewell my feathered friend”

Thank you all for your kindness and comforting words. It touches my heart deeply. It was a wonderful time sharing a special love with a special ‘friend’. I will always remember her. Thank you thank you!

Hand-raised chickens really make for lovely pets, and while they’re perhaps not the most intelligent of animals they can still grow up to have a fond devotion to their owner and carer – as one inevitably is when one has nurtured them from chicks (or as was the case for some of my chickens when I was a boy, from eggs).

I’m sorry to hear of her fate, but on the other hand she must have had a great and pampered hen’s life of luxury, and that’s surely something to celebrate.

I’m so sorry about Ruby 🙁 We lost one of our favorite Delaware hens, Zilla, to a Bobcat (Lynx) last year, he took her from 6 feet in front of me on the other side of the fence. It was amazing to witness a wild cat hunting that close, but awful to watch all at the same time as it was one of my hens! I get so attached to our girls here, and they all have their individual personalities, and special little quirks. It’s a daily battle here to keep them safe, as I’m sure it is for you. I’m just so sorry she’s gone, but it was a beautiful tribute, and so very clear just how special Ruby was.

Oh, I’m so sorry. Animals can bring such love and warmth to our lives and it is so painful to lose them – especially this way. It must have been so difficult to come upon that patch of feathers.

Barbie so sad to hear of your loss…animals are such a special part of our family and we feel the loss deeply…you have such wonderful memories and pictures and I loved sharing them with you!!

Oh, so sorry to hear this! Ruby sounds like a very special chicken indeed. When you’ve had many pets of the same kind (chickens, cats, etc.) you’ll find that there are some that are really exceptional, and losing them is hardest.

(Is it wrong that “feather duster” made me laugh?)

We had hens for a few years, and my pet was a chicken we named Millicent. They can be amazingly responsive– Your Ruby certainly was. Animals are a huge wonder and joy of life, but they break our hearts often. When my ancient cat died I cried for days… So sorry Barbie, sending you a big hug.

I was so sad reading this. I know what it is like to lose a beloved animal friend. I like chickens and know they can be friends too. Your happy memories let us all know how much she meant. So sad, so sad.

Yes – I’m very sad! It was awful to find out this morning when looking for her. She was so special! 🙁

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