To Love a Chicken

May 6, 2016

Orginal Melissa Caughey- oyster cracker in garden

I knew that the day would eventually come.

I buried her underneath a beautiful hosta that still has not emerged from its winter slumber yet.

A few weeks ago, I said goodbye to my last original chicken, Oyster Cracker. It was one of the most difficult things that I had ever done. I guess it is why it took so long for me to write this post.

Since we said goodbye to Oyster Cracker’s sister, last fall she was never quite the same.  One by one over the past year, Oyster Cracker has had to say goodbye to all of her original brooder mates. Six of her sisters passed after living long, happy and healthy lives and she was left to carry on the old girl wisdom to the young whipper snappers. I think Oyster Cracker since day one had been torn with hanging with our family or her feathered one. She loved both dearly and we loved her right back.

Original Melissa Caughey -oyster cracker in garden
Oyster Cracker loved to explore the gardens with me.

Oyster Cracker was the sweetest most caring and loving chicken that I ever knew. She was special from the beginning. A big fluffy yellow mass of feathers and fluffy, she had not problem hopping into my lap each and every morning. Most days, she was there even before I called out to her. In she leapt, waiting to bury into my chest. She could not get close enough. She’d wriggle her head into the notch of my neck and could feel little tiny puffs of air on my skin from her nostrils. We would sit together and so it went for years.

They say time heals all wounds. This one cuts deep. If I close my eyes I can hear her and see her and even smell her feathers that were perfumed with pine shavings. I have loved many chickens and they have loved me back. Love is powerful. It is universal and one of the greatest gifts we can share with one another. Time flows through our fingers quickly. Be sure to tell someone today that you love them, even if they are covered with feathers.



Author/Blogger/Freelancer-Sharing adventures with backyard chickens, beekeeping, gardening, crafting, cooking and more.



23 thoughts on “To Love a Chicken”

  1. ((((( hugs ))))) it is so hard to tell them goodbye. Especially the last of the “firsts” We had three original hens, and when Rita passed away, while we had lovely chickens still, she was the last of our beginning hens. The yard sounds different and life is a bit sadder and a lot more precious with those we still have with us and love. Indeed, never miss a chance to tell those you love how you feel. Thank you for sharing all your chickens and love and caring with us all Melissa. Pam

    • Thank you Pam. I love that you have been with me on this journey since practically the beginning. Thank you for all of your love and support over the years. It means so much.

  2. Oh I’m so very sorry. I really feel your pain. Those Buff’s are just so very sweet and special. But she lived an amazing life with you and she was so lucky to have you as her chicken mama.

  3. Sadness. Thankyou for sharing from your tender heart. We also have ‘specials’ in our flock, and saying goodbye hurts the heart. We miss the daily ‘routines’ patterned into the course of a day. Your description of Oyster Cracker and ‘lap time’ brings a smile as I visualize her sweet behavior.

    • Thank you. I think it’s important to share things like this. It’s harder for some to do but important. Glad we can all share our experiences and come together for one another.

  4. Beautiful words. We are losing the older chickens now. Jerry, the first roo is getting older…and smaller. It’s not “just a chicken”. Crazy how these tiny things can have so much personality. My heart goes out to you. Thank-you for your posts/page.

  5. I still have 3 of my original hens – 7 years old last month. None had laid eggs for years (hen-a-pause), but for some reason this year, two of them are laying regularly again! One is crowing (trans-hen-derred) and trying to “mate” with her sisters. SHE may think she’s a rooster, but the other two see her as a hen, so they don’t posture in submission – they run like hell, screaming! So I keep her separated from the other two, to keep them safe from her brutal attacks. I know that day is coming for me, too. In fact, my little “rooster” laid a lash egg more than a year ago, and I thought that was the end for her, but she came out of her dis-ease/distress and is healthy still! My heart breaks for you, your family, and your Oyster Cracker “peeps”! Much love!

  6. Sorry for your loss. It’s never easy to lose that special one. She had a wonderful life with you and you with her. Thank you for sharing. We can all relate.

  7. Sorry for your loss! Lots of people don’t understand! Yesterday I lost my the last of my first also! Her name was Weez ! I could call her name and she would come a runnin! Many littles times would set on a bale and she was more than happy to oblige them! She brought so much joy to those children! I may never have the joy of another one just like her……..but the pictures and memories will last a lifetime!
    Once again so sorry!

    • Oh no Bob, I am so sorry to hear this too. Yes, I know the memories will live on in our hearts. We are so lucky to have been touched by these sweet henny girls.

  8. O Melissa, I am so very sorry for your broken heart. It hurts so much to give them up to those of us who see them as just more than something on the dinner table. They do not seem to realize they have little hearts and souls too. Last year I lost a special little chick and I bawled and bawled and my acupuncturist told me I should not be so distressed over a little chicken????????????????? It does not matter to me if they have feathers , or fur or skin – love is love and I think we need more of it in our world . Our world is such a big , busy place and sometimes it is just the love of a little chicken that we need when every where else is too busy. Hugs your way. Linda the granny

  9. We just lost our first hen a couple of weeks ago. I hadn’t expected to feel a great sadness when that little black australorp got laid to rest. She had never shown me any real affection, she was bonded to my son; not me. As I read this short blog post all those same feelings rushed over me again. I know just how you feel! It doesn’t matter if they’re covered in fur or feathers a pet is a pet an love is love. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Oh Melissa, we are so very sorry for your loss! We are so saddened for you and your family. Oyster Cracker is featured so much in your AMAZING book “A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens” that we feel like we know and love her too! I bought it for my chicken rancher daughter Ella, and snuck into her room that night and read it cover to cover. It’s so helpful and fun. Oyster Cracker lives on in your book and in our hearts! xo Melanie

  11. Oh Melissa, today I said goodbye to Miss Roo, the first of my original flock to pass over. I had to have her euthanized. My heart is broken. I don’t know how I can go on. She was my favorite, my sweetheart, my jolly little clown who always cane running for hugs and treats. She was my beautiful girl. I thought she would live to be at least five or longer. She was only three.

    • I am so sorry for your loss. I know how badly it hurts and how the tears flow even when we try to turn them off. Big hugs to you. It will get easier and I am so glad that you had the opportunity to love one another.


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Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.