Thursday, May 13, 2010

Art and I are using wood chips to cover bare and weedy areas on our property so we'll have a riparian environment for the neighborhood birds. Some chips are from loads dumped by tree toppers, and some are from branches in our yard processed through our own chipper.

Our neighbors have chickens next to the property line. Two days ago Flower, one of the chickens, died. I was home in the afternoon, and my neighbor Jennie and I discussed over the corpse of the bird what the problem could have been. Both of us Googled unsuccessfully. Today Jennie told me she and her husband Jason had autopsied the hen in their side yard. In the crop of the bird's body they found a mass of wood chips. I remembered we'd chipped branches last weekend and some of the chips had landed in the chicken yard. Several of the hens had begun scratching in the chips immediately. Apparently Flower had eaten some.

We felt terrible and offered to pay for Flower's replacement, but Jennie said no. She'd seen us with the chipper, knew some had gone into the henyard, and done nothing. None of us knew they'd be dangerous for chickens.

We live and learn in our neighborhood.


#1Nana said...

Hummm...The Curious Case of the Chicken Murder!

Jennifer said...

A few words from the crazy chicken lady...

Performing Flower's autopsie was really quite something. Although we were sad to see her go, we gained, not only knowledge through her autopsie, but also a new respect for our hens and how their bodies work! Wow, are they amazing! Frankly, I loved my "girls" so much (it probably boarders on bizarre) before we inspected Flower. But NOW when I look at them I see more than cheerful pecking, scratching and breakfast making. I see their insides. I can see, in my mind's eye, how they are strung together and I truly marvel at how they nibble their pellets and turn them into life, energy, feathers and eggs. I might never have had the perspective I have now if I hadn't participated in Flower's autopsie. I am grateful for the experience.

In a round about way, Flower's death brought more meaning and purpose to the girls who were left behind. So then, the question is: Will our own deaths do the same for those WE leave behind?