Saturday, 17 January 2015

Goldie

My oldest hen, Goldie, has died today.   She was reared from an egg here on the farm by an old hen who managed to lay away and bring home a clutch of babies from the hedge bottom somewhere in the fields.

She was always my favourite.   Born in the days when I kept a few 'fancy' hens, she was the most beautiful golden colour and always very tame.   In her time she has brought off several broods herself, copying her mum's habit of nipping off to lay a clutch of eggs off the farm and then returning with a few chicks.   And once, a few years ago the farmer accidentally ran over a hen pheasant sitting on a clutch of eggs in a hay field.   Sadly he killed the pheasant and crushed a few of the eggs but he brought home seven or eight eggs in his cap.   At the time Goldie was broody, so we put them under her.   She reared the lot and was a really good mum.   One night a stoat or a weasel broke into her hut and stole one half grown pheasant, so the next day we let them all go.   They used to roost in the greenhouse at night for a few weeks, then they disappeared into the wild and Goldie returned to what she did best - hanging around under the bird table for any stray sunflower hearts which might fall her way.

The farmer has gone shooting today, but before he went he put Goldie out in the field for the fox.   Like any other wild creature the foxes will go hungry a lot of the time in this cold spell - so after evading the fox for the whole of her ten years, hopefully she will provide a tasty meal for a fox family tonight.

Goodbye Goldie - I shall miss seeing you around.

21 comments:

MorningAJ said...

It's sad when we lose favourites. How old was she?

Heather said...

Poor Goldie, but I'm sure she had a very good life with you. I hope the fox appreciates your kindness.
We had a dusting of snow overnight and temperatures are due to drop sharply with gales/storms over the weekend and more snow to follow. I knew the snowdrops were hanging back for a reason.

Frances said...

Thank you for writing this thoughtful and affectionate tribute to Goldie.

I continue to learn so much about living in the country every time I visit here. I really appreciate your observations and writing.

Best wishes.

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

We all have our favourites don't we? (but don't tell the others)
Mine is our old Buff Orpington Cockerel, Hugh and Mavis a strangely coloured hen- ginger head end and black rear end.

yael said...

I read every post that you write and find myself later thinking about life and the most beautiful small details of every day's life.
Sorry about Goldie.

Elizabeth said...

RIP Goldie - but rather sad...
oh dear.
I think the Farmer did the right thing...
still beastly cold here
high expected to be 27F....

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

Oh, how sad. But she will incorporate into the fox's body and live on in said fox and the DNA of generations to come. We are what we eat, truly.
:) m & jb (who wouldn't touch the tasty chicken hearts and gizzards I gave her last night. She said this morning that she didn't fancy incorporation of a gizzard into her little cat body. Brat.)

Mac n' Janet said...

Obviously she had a good life and now she's been recycled. I know you'll miss her, perhaps another one will take her place.

Jinksy said...

That is natural recycling at its best!
I hope you're keeping cosy amongst the snow. xx

Gwil W said...

Amazing tale of a foster chicken rearing pheasants. Well done Goldie!

Joanne Noragon said...

Such a respectable life Goldie led, with the tiny idiosyncrasy of rearing her chicks out of sight, then proudly bringing them home. What a grand lady. Farewell.

Bovey Belle said...

I am sure she enjoyed her life with you and knew she was appreciated as an individual. When we kept poultry, we too had a hen called Goldy (though she was a Black Rock, she had a golden cape). Sadly Next Door's beastly dog killed her . . .

I am sure Mr Fox will think it is his birthday today, and I only hope he doesn't think to look for more!

Em Parkinson said...

Wow - 10 years! That's a good life but I'm so sorry you've lost her. Glad she's being recycled too. RIP Goldie.

Barbara Womack said...

Oh, it's always sad to lose one of the special ones! But, it sounds like she had a long and wonderful life for a chicken. Hopefully, she left a few offspring to carry on the sunflower heart tradition.

Barbara Womack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
angryparsnip said...

Oh My Goodness, very sad news.
But Goldie had such a good life with you on the farm.
What a lovely tribute to Goldie. I remember you posting on her before.

cheers, parsnip

jinxxxygirl said...

I'm so sorry Weaver to hear about Goldie. But i think she must have had a wonderful life with you and the Farmer and giving her to the Fox in the end was a good thing to do. Hugs to you. deb

Cro Magnon said...

It's nice when our hens become 'family members'. My Richard has done so, and I'd feel the same way in the circumstances.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

Aw, poor Goldie. I love the pheasant story. As Heather said, I hope the fox appreciates his find.

Shelagh Duncan said...

I am so sorry about Goldie. My favorite hen died this week also. She was a naked neck and her name was Precious. It hurts but that is the way of things on a farm. We had a very cold snap here in North Carolina and maybe it was more than she could handle. She enjoyed being cuddled. Look foreword to reading your blog every day: my quota of homesickness!!

Cranberry Morning said...

I'm sorry to hear about Goldie, but such a pragmatic outlook in letting her be useful even after death.

I came here from Josephina Ballerina. I can't believe that someone actually gets to live in the Yorkshire Dales. It's my favorite place. I've visited three times and I never can get enough. The Yorkshire sheep were my favorite, in fact, I have a photo on my blog today of sheep west of Richmond.