Its always hard getting rid of something you have had for a while, and when raising animals it might become even harder. You get attached to them, you learn their calls, the way they act, the way they move, you watch them, love them, hold them, care for them, protect them... then you have to make a hard choice. Sometimes its an illness that is putting them through pain, sometimes its that your child is scared of them. Whatever the cause it is always a sad occasion.
My story is about our hen Salt N' Peppa, a silver laced wyandotte. She was one of our original 3 chickens, the start of our small flock. We drove around to different feed stores looking for a breed we each wanted. Brooke picked out this tiny cute little chick, black and white. She didn't run away when we reached in to pick her out like the others so we knew she was for us. They put her in a box and sent her home with us. I held the little box on my lap the whole way home, cooing to our new chicks that everything would be alright. We stuck them in their little aquarium home warmed by a red heat lamp and watched them grow... and grow... and grow.
They were soon to large (and smelly) to be inside so they were moved to our porch inside a LARGE metal dog cage filled with coastal hay. We watched them everyday, taking them out to play with them and pet them. They grew fast and within a couple weeks they were ready to be moved outside. We found a coop on Phreecycle and drove it home slowly on top of our SUV. We set up their area, complete with their new coop and garden fencing to keep them outta the gardens. They were moved outside and seemed to like their new home. All 3 of them huddled together at night on the roast, walked around their area together and of course pecked on each other.
As they grew we saw Salt N Peppa get bossy, stand her ground, pick fights never to be mean but she was determined to be in charge of that pecking order. There was only one problem, Shawdow (my chicken) the jersey giant was bigger then her and she was the one handing down the chicken orders. There were scuffles and squawks,but Shawdow always stayed in the lead until a year later when she came down with a disease and perished. I loved that chicken. After a week of chicken mourning, not want to be held or seen, barely eating, always looking for her, Salt N Peppa took over as head lady hen. My grief for the loss of my shadow made me turn into a urban chicken lady wanting more and more chickens to replace the loss in my heart for my one. No matter who we brought in Salt N Peppa kept the head seat. Through more fights and pecks, through having her feathers ripped out my some unknown jerk. She has held her head high and stayed the queen of the flock.
For over 2 years now she has been a good lady chicken, never letting on of her own get hurt though she did let the ducks get attacked and pass. Always laying large brown eggs almost daily, and stooping down to let us pick her up and pet her. Her large red waddles swing back and forth when she struts around showing off her beautiful white and black speckled coat of feathers. Recently though she doesn't like Brooke, Pecking her if she comes to close and SNP feels cornered. I understand a little our cat does the same thing, but after the 6th peck Brooke no longer wants to visit the ladies, help take care of them, and learn about them which is one of the reasons we got them in the first place. I never considered giving her up until Brooke asked me to get rid of her. It hurt that she wouldn't want her chicken around anymore and she disliked her little lady. So sadly I typed a In Search Of request on facebook wanting her to go to a home where she will be loved, can grow old while being happy and not wind up in someones stockpot as stew. I hope that I found her that home, and when they come to pick her up I will be sad she has been apart of my life everyday for over 2 years but I will also be happy knowing she is going to a new happy loving home.
Here is SNP (on the left) with her first friend Red. The 2 remaining first flock members.