Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Goodbye Dolly

This was a great day. Dolly was the best behaved chicken during the book’s photo shoot. She was in a deep state of broodiness and she did whatever we wanted her to do. The Jello Summer Party Treat did get her attention though. Not surprisingly, it got Oyster Cracker’s too!

I am finding it so difficult to write this because there is so much to share and say and I just can’t find the words. I can’t seem to get it all out in the way that I want. I can’t seem to convey what I feel. My blog is full of her stories and my heart is full of her memory. I had to say goodbye to Dolly.

I’ve been home for three days.

Each day, I have found myself on auto pilot with the chickens, filling their feeders, tossing out scratch, replenishing the water and looking for Dolly. I have had to remind myself that she is gone.

I cannot even begin to describe the profound sense of loss I have felt for the past few days since I made the choice to put her to sleep. Her body had finally given out. She could no longer walk and her appetite was waning. The hardest part is that she was still fully alert.  Each day I would watch her struggle to reach me in the morning. Tipping from side to side it was painful just watching. Her feet no longer worked and seemed to be frozen in position. But no matter what, she still wanted to greet me each day and spend time with me. Over the years, we had formed the most unexpected and sweetest of friendships.

Dolly has always had a special place in my heart. I guess you could say that she was one of my favorite hens and I was incredibly blessed that she lived with us for so long. Over the years, I watched her mother everything that she could get her “hands” on. She practically lived in a perpetual broody state. She hatched her own chicks. She took to new chicks from the feed store. Dolly wanted to mother everything. She walked around doing baby chick coos and little chatter even when babies were not around. I swear sometimes I would catch her talking to invisible babies as she discovered scratch in the run. She knew her name and she was kind to everyone, Even though many could not understand the broodiness, I could. Her heart was full of love and she wanted to share it. We called her the DollyMama.

I never really would have believed that it would be possible to love a chicken. In fact, 10 years ago I probably would have thought I was crazy too. But I can tell you that I loved her. Through the sobs and plenty of tears, the loss and pain runs deep. I suppose I had been in denial. I wanted Dolly to live forever.

Sometimes the hardest decisions we ever have to make are those of pure acts of unselfishness.  I can honestly say that I love deeper because of Dolly. She made me look more closely at the little things in life. She taught my children many lessons about dedication, family, patience, and respect. For that and those I will be forever grateful.

Dolly, I hope you have found peace. I hope that you have found a full nest of eggs surrounded by tons of baby chicks that were taken too soon from this life.

I owe you a heap of gratitude. I will never forget your friendship and your love.

Until we meet again…

Photo Credit: Keller and Keller

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