Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sweet Sally

There is a small grave in our garden marked with a handful of blue wild flowers.  I don't think we started this journey to farming with a notion we would ever be conducting funeral services in our back yard.  I mean seriously, they're animals, right?  And certainly the poultry industry holds no room for such nonsense.  The circle of life is stretched more to a fine, thin line in factories of thousands of mechanically-cared-for-mechanically-separated-bottom-line-producers.  And we...well, we have spent the better part of  our lives buying countless pounds of nameless pork, beef, and poultry products that satisfy our stomach's desire for meat without a second thought to the life or death of the pig, cow, and chicken being consumed.  But that is a blog for another day and another time.  This is a blog about a chicken who was anything BUT nameless:

One-eyed Sal, Sally Bird, Sally Girl, Sal was laid to rest this morning at Little Farm in the 'Hood.  Sally was a pretty popular little bird.  She was the basis of several short comedic conversations --I mean, come on, a one-eyed chicken?  She was the topic of several "I can't believe I'm doing this" moments.  Sally had a tendency to become egg-bound and introduced us to the world of chicken ob/gyn.  I believe I've earned an honorary medical degree.  Let's just say I knew Sally on a deeper level.  She was also the kids' favorite.  Partly because she was so sweet and gentle and partly just because it's easier to catch a chicken with one eye.  She couldn't really see them coming. 

But aside from comic relief and an intimate knowledge of hen anatomy, Sal was famous for her  perseverance.  After overcoming the illness that left her blind in one eye as a tiny chick she adapted to life and made the best of it all.  There were a few times early on when the pecking order was being established that she took a licking from her coop-mates but she survived.  Then there was the time she was inadvertantly left out in freezing temperatures by our fearless farm-sitters whose names have been changed to protect the innocent.  Poor Mr. Moe didn't realize that her lowly flock position often made her the last one into the shed.  She hadn't quite made her way in when the doors were locked up for the night.  The next morning she was looking a bit like "chilly-willy" but she bounced back.  AND THEN, there was the time she fell behind the roost and got stuck.  Having one eye jacked with her depth perception and made jumping a chore.  Poor Mrs. Lanette had no idea what all the squawking fuss was about but soon found our girl and was able to free Sally from her impending doom.  Again, she was a bit ruffled but otherwise unscathed.  And though she never really worked her way up on the totem pole of chicken elitism, she held her own.

So, what finally brought her down?  We can't really say.  It may be that she was egg-bound again but didn't show signs in time for us to help.  It could be that having an over-zealous rooster taking advantage of her as an easy target was just too much.  Though we did witness several occasions in which the other girls would gang up on the rooster and drive him away from Sally.  There must be a tiny bit of feminist lurking deep within 'cause it always made me smile to see him running scared from the small flock of warrior hens.  Girl power!  Oh yeah. =)  Maybe she was just really tired.  Tired of walking with her poor head cocked to one side, tired of sleeping on the floor while everybody else took to the perches.



Whatever the case, it was obvious that her time was near so we wrapped her up in a warm towel and took turns yesterday loving her off and being thankful for the two years that she endured and provided for the Sexton crew and our little farm.


Sally
November 2009 - September 2011


1 comment:

  1. That's so sad and sweet at the same time. I'm sorry the time came to say good-bye, but glad for the memories you have.

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