Swartzes, our sweet hen
(Scotts valley, CA, USA)
I raised Swartzes on the kitchen counter with 6 other chicks of all different breeds. She was the only black chick, thus "Swartzes"- she was named from a line from the movie Blazing Saddles.
My 4,6,and 8 year olds loved all the chickens as they grew, but especially Swartzes who did not run away and seemed to greet us at the gate of the chicken pen each day.
She joined my 4 year old digging worms in the yard, and was tucked under the arms and carried about the yard daily - a chicken accessory for my other 2 daughters.
She died suddenly yesterday. My now 9 year old was sitting beside her on the hay and then ran in to tell me that something was wrong with "Swartzy". I came out and observed, then gently picked up the limp and sleepy Swartzes. A minute later the hen had convulsions and died as I held her.
My daughters cried hysterically as we took her up the hill to bury her. We each gave her shiny, irridescent black feathers one last pet and thanked the universe for letting us have "Swartzy". Goodbye, Swartzes, you are missed.