Monday, May 31, 2010

Chickens: Alas, Poor Bluestar + Kooshie the Amazing

We received word this morning that Bluestar, one of our Black Gourmet (a meat breed) hens had passed away. Tears didn't accompany this news, because in a large way this hen has lived longer than we ever guessed she would. A couple of years ago Bluestar developed bumblefoot, which, though we tried in various ways to heal, just got steadily worse.  She ended up limping about on one foot, resembling (to our fanciful minds) a "dufflepud" from The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader (in the Narnia Chronicles) by C. S. Lewis.

She survived the long cold winter in NE Oregon (even when Cheeseball, her companion on the ground floor of the hen house, passed away).  And she continued on, limping about, and huddling near the feeder for the next year.

The above photo is from a year ago.

Few tears doesn't mean that we're not sorry that she's gone.  With each passing of our hens in far off Washington, we wish we could bring them close again, but it really wouldn't have worked out to have these large birds in our somewhat small suburban backyard!

Bluestar was my younger daughter's favorite hen when we first got our flock.  A young Gwynne would scoop this (then) large bird up and cart her around the yard. 

(a sigh as I type for days of yore)

On the other hand, Kooshie's story is that of a miracle.  Several weeks ago, our friend who is caring for our "big girls" in Washington, phoned to tell us that one of the Easter Eggers had gotten caught in the electric fence.  Who knew how long she'd been caught, but she was all tangled up, and had to be cut out.  Our friend brought Kooshie inside, and placed her under a heat lamp, and wrapped her up.  Kooshie was alive but wouldn't move or open her eyes, and we all feared the worst about her.  I sent Reiki, and beseached my  plant allies for help on Kooshie's behalf.   Many tears indeed were shed, as Kooshie is my older's daughter's hen, and is quite a sparkling personality (she flies to her arm).

Later that day our friend called to say that Kooshie had opened her eyes, and drunk a little water.   A report the next day was that she was standing up, and had eaten.  Within a few days she was back with her flock, fully recovered.  Even as our friend reported Bluestar's death this morning, she also told us that Kooshie was still perfectly well.  It was as if her trauma had never happened.

Our life with chickens is such a microcosm of life and death and trials and celebrations.  I'm in such gratitude for these serious and silly birds, for the love they have awoken in my daughters, in our family, and how they teach us about both the fragility and resilience of life.

Kooshie -  a photo from our visit to Vashon last Dec.


Dia said...

Blessings on Bluestar, (a Dufflepud indeed!!) & way to go, Kooshie!
Almost 40 years ago we had a backyard flock, raised from chicks, with no big chicken protectors - & a neighborhood cat took on a 'contract' on them - was litterally lining them up on his/her side of the fence!! Poor chicks . . . but Aura, an Auracauna, was a survivor - with a badly cut neck. We rescued the other chicks, & brought Aura into the house - called 'Gerdings' market, & were told 'well - if you can get her to eat & drink, she may make it.'
Years before formal Reiki, but lots of prayers & hopes, & she pulled through!! & lived for several years - we buried her when she did pass - more a pet than someone we could eat!
Hope you're having an otherwise good 'spring/summer' - cold & wet here so much still!! Sigh

Jane said...

Hi Dia! Thanks for sharing your story about Gerdings! Chickens are so amazing ... We've had an unusually wet spring here in the Bay Area, but compared with my experience in the NW that's not saying much :-). I'm enjoying drying out before heading back north later in the year!