Each year, I make up a calendar with our twelve best chicken pictures from the year. This month, when I flipped to the December page, I was reminded of this adorable face.
It has been almost six months since she died and, in all that time, I haven’t been able to muster the energy to record anything about life in the Queendom. I suppose I feel that she deserves a blog eulogy of her own, considering how amazing she was and how empty I feel now, but I am so sick of writing about the deaths of so many wonderful chickens. I’m pretty sure you are tired of reading all these obits. But here goes:
For our 25th Anniversary, we went away to a cute little boathouse B and B on Quadra Island. It was a wonderful trip, filled with kayaking, tidal pools, canoeing, mountain biking and a lovely dinner out. It is fairly common for us to drop everything and leave the Queendom for a couple of days and the chickens simply take care of themselves. But this time, as we drove in the driveway, we were confronted with two large piles of white and grey feathers. The delights of the weekend were stripped away.
As is always the case in June, Bald Eagles nest within a few kilometers of us and they frequently do fly-bys but usually they feast on our neighbours’ penned-in flocks. From the feather trail near the coop, we could tell the story of Benny’s last minutes. The piles of feathers showed where a first and a second attack happened. She was so close to making it inside the coop door and she must have put up a good fight but the eagle won. We found no blood or body parts so we assume that the eagle flew off with her body intact. I imagine that she was flown to the eagles’ nest for the young eaglets to practice hunting and killing. I hope she didn’t suffer for too long.
Benedict has been the subject of many posts during her six and a half years – Tweedle Dum is a Mum!!, Double Wing Tuck, Desperately Seeking Florentine, and DIY Vet – A Broken Toe, to name a few. She was a slave to scratch grain and loved human food more than anything else. We couldn’t ever enjoy lunch on the porch due to her crazy antics of stealing sandwiches. In her last year, this older lady spent more time inside the coop but she always listened for our cars or the front door and would hustle out to visit.
It’s funny that she became so fond of human contact since she didn’t like it at all in her younger days. She was a restless young pullet and the only way I could hold her was if I walked around the yard with her in my arms. Eventually, she calmed and over the years she sought us out simply for affection. We had a game I called “Beak” that she taught me. She liked to put her beak on top of my nose, then I would put my nose on top of her beak. It sounds ridiculous but she never tired of it.
Lots has gone on this summer here, including our first try at raising meat birds as well as the addition of 10 chicks. There has been much joy and happiness which has helped to distract us from the hole she left in our hearts.
For the 2020 Queendom Calendar, she will, once again be featured, this time as Miss December. I look forward to flipping open that page and remembering her at her best.