We’ve been keeping a close eye on Henny Penny. Andre, her friend and protector, has been gone for nearly a week. Chickens are social creatures with a strict pecking order. We were concerned that the older hens would pick on her and she would be lonely. While she’s definitely on the bottom rung of the poultry ladder, she is hanging on to the group most of the time. She gets chased off now and then, but seems to be forming an alliance with Sally Turtle, our gentlest chicken. Sally will forage next to her without bullying and even eat from my hand at the same time.
On Saturday night, Nora was having a terrible time falling asleep. After a short period of quiet, we heard crying coming from her room. I went in to check on her. I sat next to her and she looked up at me and choked, “I’m sad that Andre died! I’m sad that Andre died!” I said I was sad, too. Ben came in and we cried together until she fell asleep.
Last night, Nora was scribbling in a notebook my father-in-law made by hand. She started to tear out a page, at which point, Ben and I protested, as it’s not that kind of notebook. She burst into sobs.
“But I made a coupon!”
“Hey, hey, let’s talk this out, we probably don’t need to cry, we can just talk and see what we can agree on,” I said.
She inhaled deeply.
“I made a coupon for Andre!”
Ben and I looked at each other.
“What does the coupon say?” we asked simultaneously.
“We had Andre and she maybe she ate some fertilizer and got really sick and we tried to make her feel better and took her to the vet but it didn’t work and she died. So I made this coupon to get her back and I need to tear it out.”
We all took a deep breath.
“Honey, that is so sweet of you. That is exactly what happened, but Andre can’t come back. When an animal or a person dies, they can’t come back. Andre can’t eat or see or play or anything. And he can’t come back.”
“She,” Nora corrected me. Then I was left to explain that the vet looked at Andre and found she was a rooster, but we didn’t know it. Blank stare.
“It’s confusing, I know,” Ben said.
We all talked a bit more about Andre; what we liked about her (him), how funny it was to watch her (him) run. We agreed that she could tear the coupon out, but if she wanted to make more coupons, we’d find some different paper.
I took her to the kitchen for a glass of water and noticed a half-dried tear at the corner of her left eye. It matched my own.Related posts: It’s All Fun & Games Until Someone Gets an Impacted Crop Andre