Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Last of the Golden Girls...

I think it's safe to admit that the Buff Orpingtons have always been our family's favorites. They are gentle and friendly, lending themselves always to a passing stroke or pickup.They are good layers, dropping consistently inside the coop, instead of wherever the muse strikes them (unlike a few other birds I know). We've had six in all, bringing home three at different times. Categorizing them as 'old Goldies' or 'young Goldies'... they were all called 'Goldie'. Over the years, we have sadly said goodbye to five of them. Two to old age, but then there was that summer where a fox killed three of our Goldies in one night. The one that remained mourned her beautiful golden sisters for a good long while afterwards...I will never forget it. She made a mournful sound that I have never heard from a chicken before or since. It was heartbreaking. I was told once that hens recognize each other visually and that it's important for them to have others of 'like kind' to hang out with. I have witnessed this to be true many times. The single-kind birds do not integrate well into the flock. It's a fact of chicken life. After Goldie tragically lost her sisters, she was not shunned from the flock, but she became a bit of a loner...and I believe her loss made her more attached to her human flock. She became affectionate (as hens go), willing to be groomed and nursed when she needed it, and always first in line for a handout. She surprised us a few times by recovering from the edge of goodbye this past year. But even in her decline, she would fulfill her Buff Orpington duty by nesting on any eggs left in the nesting box. They are the best mamma hens. When I returned home from some errands, I found her standing against the screen door to the kitchen. Unusual even for her. I knew something was wrong. She never went back to the coop to roost in the evening, instead choosing to spend her last hours next to the house. The Golden Age has passed here on the Farm... at least for now. But I can easily forsee a future flock of Goldies again. Maybe even next spring. Goodbye, Goldie. You were a beauty and a joy to all.


Clare said...

Rest in peace, Goldie. Dang, I hate goodbyes.

kansasrose said...

Sue, so sorry for the loss of Goldie. Your photos of her are very touching, lovely. Take care.


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