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In Loving memory of 4 best friends

by Lauren
(UK)

We had our four chickens for just over 2 months before a fox got to them this morning.

I got to know these little creatures and watch each of their personalities grow into something special. Dot LOVED weeds from the garden, she'd nip weeds out of the others beaks just to get her fix.

Henrietta loved bananas and was the chatty one of them all. Snowy was the little bossy one, the highest of the pecking order and the first one to let me cuddle her.

Shaniqua was sassy and an absolute scaredy cat. Most of the feathers I found in their little home this morning were from her, I think she put up the biggest fight last night.

I'd walk up and down the coop, and they would follow. They'd greet me whenever I go to say hello in our usual spot, where I'd pull up a chair and feed them seeds out of my hands. Once, I played soft jazz out loud on my phone, Shaniqua got all cosy and nodded off, before I woke her up again from giggling.

They'd be fussy with their food, they would only eat certain weeds, they'd turn their nose up at broccoli and occasionally shout the garden down when they laid an egg.

It took a while for two of them to get to know us, but I loved watching them come out of their shell. One time it rained so heavy and they decided they wanted to be outside cuddled up in the corner, not sheltered from the rain at all. I picked up each one of them and popped them in the coop one by one, so they could be safe and dry.

Another time I sat in the coop with them, wearing my Doc Martens, Dot and Henrietta thought my shoelaces were worms, which made me laugh so much!

The first day we got them, we were trying to make their run as secure as we could. There were two huge composers that Snowy wanted to go near so desperately, she got herself wedged between them on that first day and I had to unstick her.

We decided it's best to empty the compost out and let them have a rummage, she sat on my knee patiently watching them get removed! After that, there were no more crazy attempts at getting to that end of the garden and I realized that Snowy was actually just curious at what they were.

When they first were introduced to their run, I cried a little, so happy that I could protect these little creatures. They made me as happy as I think I made them.

I'm utterly heartbroken. I hope it was quick and painless and that they know how loved they were.

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Such a sad story.
by: Cath

Hi Lauren,

I'm so terribly sorry to hear this about your four beloved hens. A few years ago, I lost my entire flock to a fox family and I was also heartbroken, so I know something about how you feel.

At that time, I was so sad I felt I couldn't go on. I thought I was a bad chicken-keeper for not even being able to protect them. After a while, though, I realised that there were lessons I could learn from the awful experience. So I did, and then I moved on and bought some more hens. I considered doing this the legacy my first flock left me.

And that's really all we can do - learn and move on. You need to allow yourself time to grieve their loss, because it's just as bad as losing a dog or a cat. Chickens become part of our family, too.

This time of year it's very common to lose chickens to foxes. They have cubs to feed, and they're prepared to be more daring than at other times of year.

Your stories about each one of your chickens and their different personalities shows exactly how much you cared for and looked after them. All we can think is that they had a good life while they were with us, even if it was only for a very short time.

Thank you for such a touching tribute to your little flock. What happened is tragic and I send you hugs and love as you come to terms with it.

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