Last week, Lilly, the second of our elderly flock of chickens died. They had both died of old age which is pretty good going for entirely free-range chickens in a urban fox release area, but following the discovery that their mother had simply thrown the first chicken in the bin, the children, horrified, had insisted that we bury this one with full honours. Off they trouped with shovel in hand, to the back of the garden with the dead chicken in a box.
I wandered over to pay my respects and discovered a large amount of earth and grass with a stick stuck in the top as some kind of flagpole memorial. They seemed to have given up digging a hole fairly quickly and decided that it was much easier to simply throw dirt and foliage on top of the chicken. Nevertheless, we gathered around the dearly departed and paid our respects one by one, recalling our favourite Lilly moment and our favourite egg dish, before heading back inside for tea. (I slipped back later to do the honours properly to ensure she was safely tucked away at an appropriate depth).
Following the upset, the kids immediately announced that we needed more chickens to keep our remaining one company and looking out at the one, sad and lonely girl wandering the garden, convinced me they were right. We responded to an advert yesterday and have now reserved 2 new chicks for collection in a couple of weeks’ time.
In the meantime, our last chicken has struck up an unlikely friendship with the cat. I'm not sure I'll encourage that friendship - it might not be good for her health.......