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April 30, 2012: Eulogy for a Chicken

I wrote eulogies for Stubbi and Catchi when they passed on; I then read them at their burial site. Yesterday, I did the same for Nimby. She died in March, and since has been in our outdoor freezer. Yesterday we buried her, and I think freed her soul.

Some would say that writing a eulogy for a chicken is absolutely absurd. Their arguments are that chickens are dumb birds, good for two things, being eaten and eggs. I, quite obviously, think otherwise. Some chickens are lucky enough to have pet status. Stubbi, Catchi, and Nimby fit into this category.


As such, I interacted on a daily basis with them, and vice-versa. I found them all to lively, inquisitive, and vocal. Quite often, they brightened dark days. I also enjoyed the routine of feeding, watering, and cleaning their roost and coop.

So it seemed to me that the least I could do was bury them. The eulogies were a way of articulating to first myself, and then, how I felt about them. At the same time, it was a more formal way of sending their spirits on to the great beyond.

I do not believe that someday I will join them, and together we will chat for hours on end about the good old days. One of the joys of animal ownership is that we get just one shot at it. Then we go our separate ways. This makes our time together all that much more valuable.

What follows is my parting words to Nimby:
Okay bird, into the ground you go. Whereas you used to feed bugs, now bugs feed you. This is the way life works.

I have and will continue to think about you, your great character, your chicken related insights about life. You were a gift from my friend Marj Weathers, who brought you here when Catchi passed on. I was after, cheered by your energetic, lively, and always exuberant presence.

Your death, maybe due to pneumonia, was untimely. I don’t know for sure that this was the cause, but strongly suspect that this was the reason. Your death occurred shortly after a snowstorm. I didn’t get the snow off your astro turf ramp in a more timely fashion – had I done this, you would have had quicker access to your warmer roost.

I also failed to bring you inside the house after you fell ill. And so, you literally died in my arms – I was going to take a photograph of you. You convulsed, threw up, and then gave up the ghost.

You’re survived by your long-time buddy Henny Penny Palin, and your replacement, Snooky, a black Jersey Giant. Your chicken shoes were of course hard to fill, but Snooky, Pete and I both agree, fits right in. Henny Penny thinks so too.

You’re now joining your former pals, Stubbi and Catchi. It does my heart good to picture all of you hanging out in a huge sunny yard, eating and scratching, and every so often conversing about the better days at Squalor Holler. Please, when you again meet up with them, put in a good word for me.

Next: 144. 05/1/12: If It’s Ants We are, We Only got one Jar