Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Five Little Dominoes

Our flock is smaller today.

Clem, Edie, and Viv
Because yesterday we re-homed Clementine, Edie, Mathilda, Scarlett, and Vivian. 

For a variety of reasons (risks to their health and safety chief among them) we decided against taking them with us to the Big Island. 

Instead, we sent them off with friends who we know will care for them with the same devotion we have.

That doesn't make it any less of a gut punch.

This morning's coyote patrol was quiet. Not just because the coyote was a no-show (thankfully), but also because the energy out back was...subdued. I'm probably projecting, but it felt like our seven remaining girls noticed how different things suddenly are.

Scarlett says 'Hi'
(among many other things)
There was a time when Mathilda and Scarlett were the only survivors of a dog attack that took three of our girls.

From that low point, our flock eventually grew to 14—before a hawk killed Gracie and a coyote took Alice. We grieved every loss, and were aggrieved by our inability to protect them. 

Which is why sending them away is so fraught with regret.

A couple years ago I would have been mystified by my attachment to these gals. If today-me could time-travel to explain it to past-me, the conversation would no doubt be schmaltzy—and unconvincing.

Mathilda, the world's
smallest Jersey Giant
I'd probably say I was surprised to learn that chickens have such unique personalities. That they're funny and social and like to hang out with their people. That from the start, you find yourself talking to them like they're a dog or cat. And that you end up loving them the same way.

Then I'd probably trail off like, "You know what I'm saying?" And past-me wouldn't know. At all. In fact, he'd probably look at me like I was nuts. At which point, I'd give him a little smile and say, "You're gonna have to trust me on this one, dude."

By mid-July, most likely, the rest of the girls will be off to their new home. We will miss the daily chick chats, the comforting routine of tending to them, even the steady undercurrent of worry about predators.

It's the price we pay for caring about living creatures—especially the ones we're responsible for.

We know, logically, we're doing the right thing for them. But logic will be cold comfort when the yard goes quiet. 

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