Our chickens have been unwell. Struck down by something that, as we are still new to poultry owning, we had no idea what we were initially dealing with.
Esme, our Plymouth Rock, lost her bossiness. Lost her joy in harassing the others, so we knew something was up. All she would do was sit. We gave all the chickens some recommended treatment and held our breath. On the days when Esme just was not interested in doing anything else Flower, her sister, joined her to keep her company.
Or so we thought.
Flower, the chook that Imp had named, started her visible decline literally overnight and both Husband and I knew it was only a matter of time before she slipped away. We tried to prepare Imp as much as we could, but I do not think she really understood what we meant. Maybe it was just hope that Flower would get better.
One morning, when Husband and Imp went outside to let the chickens out of their house, Husband noticed Flower lying down. He hoped against hope that she would move. She did not. His heart sank as he had to turn to tell Imp that Flower was gone.
My morning sleep in was broken by loud, heavy crying outside my bedroom window. I knew instantly what had happened. I rushed outside, held Imp while she sobbed into my PJ's and told her how sorry I was for her. Her favourite chicken had left us.
I took Imp by the hand and we walked around the garden. We picked flowers for Flower as we explained to Imp that we had to bury Flower. Esme was standing next to her sister, quietly bocking almost in an encouraging way to wake her up. It was heart breaking to watch and even as I type this, I feel a lump forming in my throat.
We asked Imp where she thought would be a good spot to bury Flower and she came up with the suggestion of burying her in her dust bath. Such kindness, such thoughtfulness. She makes me so proud and I am deeply honoured to her Mama.
Flower was laid to rest in her dust bath, with sprinkles of an assortment of calendula flowers, lilies and geraniums.
Goodbye Flower. You were a lovely chook. Imp misses you.