A few weeks ago, someone asked me how Rosewitha was doing.
You see, here at Calamity Acres, the female side of the farming pair jumped the gun when we signed to buy this place, and bought a pair of Japanese white/blacktailed bantams and a pair of Buff Brahma bantams at auction, and we actually had to board them somewhere until we closed. That was the first lecture on infrastructure, seven summers ago.
In time, we adopted from Olathe Animal Control a purebred Buff Orpington rooster (our original boy Rambo), and three hens that appeared to be production reds, Helen, Rosie and Ruby. Of all those birds, Ruby is the only one left.
These chickens, though the "set" had been bred out of them, proved to be prolific breeders. Wilma, the first Japanese hen, set a clutch, and from them we got One, Two, Three, Four, Studly and Butch, and another rooster, Speedy, who has been long gone. We also got a bunch of hens of varying sizes, including the two identical bantam hens Dovey and Rosewitha. Both were excellent mothers over the years, and could be depended on to protect and teach their babies right. Dovey we lost during the tail end of winter, she failed and Keith had to put her down. Rosewitha, after raising the clutch with two other mothers in the little henhouse in September, went back to the big henhouse to live in the rafters with the Little Bunch who lives in there.
There's Rosewitha in the middle.
Tonight, I came home from work after a particularly long day. Keith was playing in a golf tournament and was going to be an hour or so behind me.
I let the big dogs out, and fed the little ones right away.
As I went out, I noticed Lilly by the henhouse. Then, a few minutes later, she was out by the shop.
As I started chores, I found this:
Feathers where feathers shouldn't be, at the corner of the big henhouse, in the yard.
Pretty soon, I saw Lilly Ann over by the shop, and yelled to her she better be behaving.
When I got over there to do the little six chicks still in the shop, I found another pile.
Right about then, Lilly attacked Ranger up in the garden. I knew then she had hidden her kill where she had hidden Studley during the winter. I thought about it for a few minutes and realized it had to be Rosewitha. How she got on the wrong side of the fence, I don't know. When she did, she obviously couldn't figure out how to get back, and she was so old she never flew anymore. No, I didn't beat Lilly but I have been upset with her all evening. I don't care that it's her nature, I'm tired of her killing my birds. She has killed three in the last six weeks. It's tiresome. This little hen was a good mama and a good layer, and never hurt a flea. She's in a bag in the back of the truck, and Keith will take care of her tomorrow, we don't want to burn her because we aren't burning tonight, and the ground in the pasture is very hard right now.
Lilly Ann needs to stay away from mom tonight.
There won't be a gate in the new henyard, it will be entered by going out a door in the henhouse itself, so the birds will not be able to get out. We are also considering putting a picket fence around it too high for Lil to jump to even come near the birds. Barring that, she won't go outside unless we are out there watching her.
I've had my tears, and I guess I shouldn't be crying over an old bird, when so many people have lost everything they own in the tornados of the last month... but she was a good little bird and I'm feeling pretty sad right about now.