We lost a hen today, one of the very best ever.
She was the regal, highly personable, indefatigable Red. I first wrote about her in this interview and have wanted to share more about her with you guys, but here we are. If you have been a visitor at the dirt-and-hooves Lazy W then you have probably noticed her plenty, though she wasn't ever the sort of girl who craved cuddling, like Mia does. Instead, she was the mover and shaker. The kinetic energy, mission impossible personality who kept all the birds motivated.
Red was always the first person to rise and shine in the morning as well as the first to pull up a chair at the open grain bin. Usually she would just hop right in and help herself. I never once scolded her for this, because she always allowed me to retrieve enough for the others and never once pecked me. In recent days, she had even started allowing a certain rooster to join her.
She was such a woman of action that the only times Red wasn't already waiting at the chicken yard gate at dawn, she was either laying an egg herself or dutifully sitting on a community clutch. But even then I could always touch her and hand feed her, multi-tasker that she was. She was all at once easy going and alert. This kind of approachability is not universal to all hens, folks, but I bet you know that.
Like I mentioned, Red was a very attentive brooder, sitting on anyone's egg no matter the shape or color, and she was an excellent mother. My best guess is that in her Lazy W years she provided us with nearly two dozen live chicks. Tomato is in this group! Have you heard of Tomato? She's also laid about seventy four million large, delicious green eggs. And aside from three or four little sickly days which were all easily remedied with standard home health care TLC, she was a healthy, vibrant bird. Strapping, even.
Red lived well past the expected life span for her breed, so while we are very sad she is gone, we are truly happy to celebrate her long, happy life. She seems to have died peacefully. When we said our silent goodbyes to each other she had sunshine on her feathers and clover in her belly.
I chose to bury her in the back field, halfway down the hill, at the site of the kids' old playhouse. This is also where Jess chose to bury her beloved fish named Banana. Banana was a very good fish. Red was a very good chicken. And they were both deeply loved, so it's fitting that they are buried near each other at a place where so much fun and creativity happened. Dusty, Mia, and Momma Goose all attended the burial.
Thank you, Red, for all of the life you brought the farm. Thank you for the wonderful, nutritious eggs which we have shared with so many loved ones. Thank you for all of those beautiful fluffy little babies, for the upbeat atmosphere and beauty you always provided, and for showing us that a person really can live fully right up to the last day. Rest in Peace. We love you.
Be Vibrant Like Red...