I've never written a post about a chicken before.
Oh, about chickens... but not just one, I don't think.
As I type this, Big Red is living out her final hours. She does not appear to be in any pain, and is comfortable in the big hen house, where she has lived the last three years.
I don't name many chickens... I read (or used to read) blogs where chicken keepers named every single girl, and wrote about them individually. I have had pets here before, but I rarely name them. They are, after all, chickens.
But first, background.
Five years ago, a wonderful hatchery donated fifty mixed chicks to the National Agricultural Center, where I volunteer. There was a day camp there then, and an education director, and he and the children took most of the care of the chickens. I went in on Saturday and Sunday to feed and water, at least the Saturdays he was not scheduled to work. The following season, the same hatchery donated 24 cochin chicks in all colors... to join the first. Yes, it was quite the flock.
Again, the kids and the education director had primary care of them.
At the end of the season, the ed director had resigned for a different job, the day camp had ended. I took over caring for the birds. When we closed for the year, we dispersed the flock so that someone did not have to care for them through the winter, as the remaining two employees were not chicken lovers.
We parceled them out to friends of the Ag Hall, and I brought some home here. I still have a few of them five years later.
The subsequent two years, I took a group of birds to the Ag with which visitors interacted. They lived in the big chicken coop, but part of the problem was that they had to be shut up every day around four, because there were again, only two employees. I took care of them on weekends and holidays.
Last year and this year, because of the pandemic, we had no birds at the Ag, and because of the re-construction of a new ice house, their yard was actually taken down and will have to be reconfigured if the decision is made to have them again.
Back to Big Red.
She is a Buckeye.
They are not prolific layers, and can be used for meat. She never laid very much.
She is a handsome bird, though.
I had numerous red hens, but Big Red, with her small comb, Medium Red and Little Red were all distinctive. Little Red died earlier this summer, she had caught something in her crop or throat, and I had asked a neighbor to put her down, she could not eat or drink. When he did it, something flew out of her neck, he thought she had had an obstruction.
I am digressing.