Sinead, Phidelma, Lucy, Molly and Casper. Mrs. Dineen, Ms Marple, and Sideburns - You were loved

by Jennings
(Northern Maine)

We had 8 chickens, raised from chicks, in our coop. They were Blue Andalusian, Rhode Island Red, Wyandottes and Buff Orpington and they were all beautiful to me. I always name our chickens once they are old enough to really be distinguishable and to show their own, unique sparkling personality.

Sideburns was our only rooster - a beautiful Ameraucana. He was one of our first chickens and I did not even realize he was a rooster until that first crow. I used to laugh and say he was the only "girl" in the flock with "sideburns" so that was his name.

Sideburns died suddenly with no explanation and I was heartbroken. There were no injuries, no parasites, no predators and he looked healthy even after we found him. None of the rest of the flock had any issues but he remains our one and only rooster so he will always be very special.

Sinead, Phidelma, Lucy, Molly and Casper were all victims of a raccoon attack. The raccoons found a way in over the top of our coop and killed all but 3 of our hens. At first we did not know what had gotten in or how but a game camera installed just outside the coop took the mystery out of it. Luckily we had put additional chicken wire and barrier up before they returned the next night.

We were able to trap and rehome 3 raccoons but we lost most of our flock that year. My son painted the inside of the girls' coop with the names of the raccoon victims and also gave the coop a name at the same time. It became the "EggPlant" and we painted it dark purple.

Mrs. Dineen was a wyandotte we had for 4 years who became egg bound and died. We tried the usual treatments (bathing, soaking, separating from the flock) but she still did not make it.

And then, today, I looked out of my office window at the girls like I do many many times each work day and I saw Ms. Marple lying dead on the far side of the yard.

Ms. Marple was a Buff Orpington with endless curiosity (hence her name). I don't know how or why she died and it is heartbreaking to me because these girls are my little feathered babies.

We keep a clean coop, well fed chickens who get spoiled with fresh fruit and veggies almost daily in addition to their laying feed and corn.

I miss them all but they will always be remembered, will always be part of our family, and have a special place in our hearts.

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I'm so sorry for your losses, Jennings.
by: Cath

What a sad story of so many losses. It is devastating to lose even one of our flock, but losing so many must have left you heart-broken. I feel for you, and for your family.

Chickens who die so unexpectedly are very hard to get over, I find. With predators there are usually lessons we can learn and steps we can take to make our flocks more secure, as you did with the raccoons.

But with Sudden Chicken Death Syndrome, there's often no explanation. A perfectly healthy chicken just dies. We can look at possible reasons, but often there just aren't any.

All we can ever do is remember that, while they were with us, they led their best lives and gave us joy.

Thank you so much for sharing their stories and their photos.

RIP, chickens. You were all loved, and you are very much missed.

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