Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mes Poulets

our kids - rhoda (in front) fanny (blonde) and Left (our roo)

When we moved here in October, well actually months before we actually arrived I always spoke about getting chickens.  I have never had chickens before and I wanted to wake up to fresh eggs and have these little pre-historic birds clucking around.  Over Thanksgiving dinner I had mentioned this to our friend Ben and 2 days later he was at our front door with 3 chickens. Here's the post from last year when we got them.

Every morning I would get up and go up to the coop (which is an old shed), open the door and say "morning birds".  Usually Rhoda would be roosting on the 2x4, Lefty would be sitting on a concrete block and Fanny just standing there.  We didn't have a run for them (with a fence) because it wasn't possible where the coop was located, so they were free-range.  They would wander off into the forest and come down to the front door for their treats.  Lefty was the best roo you could have.  He was injured before we got him and his left leg didn't work very good so he was very submissive for a roo.  He wasn't aggressive and he only cock-a-doodle-doo'd once in the morning.  He was very sweet.  Rhoda and Fanny were sisters and were such a team, they were always together scratching around and if I would call them they would come running down the path, hoping for some treats.

On Thursday I let them out of the coop and went about my day, just like any other day.  We went into Montauban for 3 hours to do some shopping and when we came back Fanny was standing right at our front door, but there was no sign of Rhoda or Lefty.  It's very unusual for the ladies to be apart so we went looking for them.  We looked everywhere but they were gone. Not a trace.. it's like they just disappeared into thin air.  I was in tears, I knew that something got them.  Either a fox or a hawk or maybe an owl.  We are thinking a fox, because we have heard that foxes can clear out a whole flock in a day without leaving a feather!  

My heart was/is broken.  I loved those birds and Rhoda was my girl.  She was the leader of the flock and so cool.  And Lefty, well, he was a super roo.  Fanny was very freaked out and for 2 days stood at our front door.  Never venturing out to scratch or anything.  She would go up to the coop to lay her daily egg but would run back down to our door.  I knew that it was only a matter of time before the fox came back for her so I talked to a friend of mine who I go to French class with about taking her in.   "Of course" she said.  She just got 4 hens (3 weeks ago) and loves them.  Her and her husband have 2 kids who love the chickens too.    So yesterday we took her over to their house and it went great.  Fanny was let into the run and she got along great with the other girls and started scratching around (something she hadn't done since the Thursday).  She was eating and laying in the sun and looked so happy.  My friends daughter is 9 and loves the birds, she spend most of the time checking up on Fanny to make sure she was OK. I left feeling very good about my decision to give Fanny to them.  I know that she will be safe and happy.

I still get choked up when I think about Rhoda and Lefty, having to die like that.  I know they are just chickens and we eat chicken 2-3 times a week, but these birds were my pets, part of our family and very cool.  I will never forget them and when we get more birds, which I will when we decide where we are going to be (Los Angeles or France) they will have a fenced in run.  I think we were very lucky they lasted as long as they did...I never thought they would get killed though, it just never crossed my mind.   I will say though that Rhoda and Lefty had a wonderful life here...being able to run free in the woods is something most chickens don't get a chance to do.  They were spoiled birds for sure and I will miss them.


Rhoda and Lefty

Rhoda and Fanny

The girls would come running when I called them

9 comments:

Cindy said...

As I was reading this post, I was hopeful you'd find them. I do often think about this happening, but it doesn't stop me from free ranging our hens. They're so much happier and content when allowed to free range. I am so sorry for your loss!

franke said...

i'm glad to hear fanny has a new home; that had me worried when you said she was standing at your door for a couple of days. damn foxes.

Megan said...

Oh, I'm sorry to hear about that. Perhaps they didn't get eaten, perhaps someone stole them?

Randal Graves said...

Well that sucks. No more rabbits for the foxes to eat?

Rowena... said...

Rhoda and Lefty gone???! Saddened to hear the news but glad that Fanny is in good company now. Over here it's been a bear that has been terrorizing the local hens (and their owners). JJ5 just helps himself like a kid in a candy store!

Zuleme said...

I've had chickens and ducks here in New Hampshire and you learn the hard way that you really have to protect them. But I lost my first flock to a dog...a cute little dog named Fluffy. Now that we have about an acre and a half fenced off for the cats to roam in my husband wants more chickens. But they would still need a fortress because bears and raccoons come over the cat fence every night.
I've enjoyed reading through your blog. Planning our second trip to France this summer. We are also cyclers and here in the White Mountains there are plenty of hills!

Leesa said...

Gosh, I'm so sorry to hear this!! I just read about this now and it brought tears to my eyes! I know how much it hurts to have your beloved pets taken from you like that... I'm really sorry! I'm happy you found a home for Fanny, though...
Take care,
Leesa

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