Day 12 of 21
TW: Below, I write about the death of one our chickens.
I missed Day 11. I was having the best evening. Our son had a cello performance, and it was wonderful. Last night was one of those nights where you just want it burned into your memory forever. It was so lovely.
Sadly, tonight was a really bad night. We lost Schubert. I am heartbroken.
I went to the coop late this evening to collect the eggs, and I looked over to find Schubert on the roost for the night, just gasping terribly for air. I thought she was choking. I scooped her up to take her into some light, so I could try to help, when she flew out of my arms and landed on the ground with a thud. This never happens. First, they rarely fly out of my arms. Second, when they do, they fly down.
I was shocked. I got down to pick her back up. I was checking her legs to make sure she could walk when she started convulsing. It took me a bit to realize what was happening, but thankfully, once I realized it, I just held her through the death throws and did my best to speak calmly and pet her head and tell her goodbye.
What a terrible sadness.
I think she was having a heart attack when I came upon her in the coop, and I didn’t realize it and got myself involved. I surely made things worse for her, and I feel terrible. But at least she knew me as a friend throughout her life and knew I was sad for her in the end.
I cried so hard when she passed that Ron came outside to see what had happened. When I looked up to explain what had happened, that’s when I saw Rooster. He was off of his roost and watching me from the coop. He was very, very upset too, making all kinds of stress noises. I don’t know how much he saw, but I was worried he might think I was to blame for her death.
He didn’t seem to though. When I went to see him to make sure we were cool, he let me touch him and didn’t act upset. I am grateful for him to know I am a friend.
I wanted to wrap up tonight’s post by sharing a little bit about who Schubert was, in her honor. She was an Easter Egger who I drove across the state to get. She was the special, sweet gray chick that was held out for me by the breeder because she was her favorite of the hatch, couldn’t keep her, and wanted her to go to a great home. The breeder knew I would do well by her baby chick. I picked another chicken randomly to go with Schubert that day–Schumann. I’m worried how Schumann is going to be without her. They were not as close as they used to be in recent years, but last summer, one night, I went to close up the coop when I heard sweet, snuggly noises coming from the chickens. I looked up to find Schumann and Schubert snuggling and talking. They stayed together every night for a long time, but, eventually, they drifted apart again.
Schubert was five years old and is genetically the mama of Juliet and Bianca and is the grandma to Ruby and Arwen. I bred a whole line from her because she was so smart and sweet and laid such a beautiful blue-green egg. She was a part of the original “composers group” that we raised by hand–Bach, Saint-Saens, Schumann, Schubert, Beethoven, and Vivaldi.
Ron buried her for me in the side yard while I had to finish checking the eggs and moving all of the broody hens out of the nests. We now have four broody hens, and Ruby stole some eggs, which means she has extra.
I will have to candle the eggs again in a day or two. Life will go on, as it does, but I am going to miss Schubert a lot.