My heart is heavy. A couple days ago, while we were away from home on a field trip, loose dogs got into our chicken yard and killed all of our chickens. Every single one. They're all gone. :(
Although we never saw the dogs, there were tracks from at least two (and probably three) dogs left behind. We know the culprits were dogs and not coyotes because they just killed the chickens and didn't take or eat any of them. What a tremendous waste.
My mama-heart is aching for my kids. They have put so much love, affection, time, and energy into having their chicken business. Every chicken had a name and was hand-raised with much care and cuddling. It's heartbreaking.
After nearly 8 years of having chickens, it is surreal to go outside and see the emptiness and hear the quiet. Our chickens are sorely missed. We miss their companionship. Their antics. Their beauty. Their enthusiasm for good food. Their eggs.
Those of you who've never really known a chicken may not realize it, but every chicken has its own distinct personality. I'm especially missing Marchee (aka Aunt March), who would follow us anywhere and was always looking for a treat (even in the form of my toenails or camera). We're missing them all: Queen Elizabeth, Wilhelmina Shakespeare, DC, Cleopatra, Anne Hathaway, Jo, Amy, Mushroom, Rusty, Brownie, Marmee, and Marchee.
Seriously thankful for homeopathic Ignatia. Whenever I find myself with tears welling up every few minutes, a lump in my throat, and inadvertently sighing, I know it is time for another dose. Whenever the grief seems too much to bear for my kids, I give them a dose and it eases their pain. Ignatia doesn't take away the grief, but it seems to bring a sense of calm, peaceful perspective that makes it all more livable. It gives us the strength to carry on with all of those household details that must still be attended to.
There is comfort in knowing that chick season is just a few months away. Our flock will be rebuilt, and we will once again have feathered companions. With one little change in our chicken yard gate, future dog attacks will be prevented. Spring will bring that sweet sound of peeping and give my kids back one of their greatest joys.
For now, though, it's quiet here. Rest in peace, chickens.