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A flock of three

Checked the chickens on this miserable drizzly December night and found Maggie dead in her nest box.

She’s the black and white one in the front. If you recall, she had an accident when she was about six months old (we think she panicked at the sight of a fox and banged he spine on the edge of the chicken house) and her legs were paralyzed. I didn’t expect her to live long after that, but I kept her fed and clean and occupied and damn if she didn’t live another fifteen months. Reasonably happy, as far as I could tell.

Unlike her sister, the pretty little black hen in the picture, who grew to be a beautiful big fat bird and dropped dead for no apparent reason at less than a year old.

Chickens. They’re a bit like that.

Funny thing, though — we’ve had six bantams now, and every one was a unique entity. They have separate personalities and different tastes in food. I can tell their voices apart. When chickens are added or die, the weight of their personalities changes the behavior of the whole flock. They have chickeny souls, dammit.

And I’m having chicken for dinner again. I can’t process this. I think I shall drink instead.

Join me in a glass in honor of Magpie, won’t you? A nice little bird who never got a chance at the life she deserved.


Comment from P2
Time: December 2, 2014, 11:11 pm

Three fingers of Scotland’s finest, barkeep, if you will, please. And in a glass you don’t wish returned…. For it shall not be sullied by a lesser purpose than honoring the fallen.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 2, 2014, 11:18 pm

I’m having a wee dram of this tipple in her honor. The Te Bheag one in the sidebar.

Uncle B pronounced it for me, but I’m not sure I’ll repeat it.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: December 2, 2014, 11:27 pm

Life isn’t fair.
I’ve never been able to reconcile that.

Comment from SSAF
Time: December 2, 2014, 11:31 pm

Miserere Domine, gallina morta est.

in the bleak coop midwinter a
valiant fowl shuffled off the plummage
to the big meadow

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: December 2, 2014, 11:32 pm

Hah! Just got a rejection from Analog. They didn’t like my story about cats on a space ship.

That’s one more rejection closer to making a sale.

Comment from The God of Analog
Time: December 2, 2014, 11:44 pm

In a fair life every Analog submission would be accepted?

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: December 2, 2014, 11:52 pm

In a fair life every Analog submission would be accepted?

no..no..no.no..no. Every writer has to accumulate a certain number of rejections. It’s a winnowing process to see if one is dedicated enough, tough enough, desperate enough to bluff your way through the rejections.

Comment from dissent555
Time: December 2, 2014, 11:54 pm

To Maggs! (tips glass)

Comment from Spad13
Time: December 3, 2014, 12:18 am

To absent companions.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 3, 2014, 12:29 am

I called her every Mag variant I could think of, dissent. Magnolia. Magnovox. Maglite. The Maginot Line. Magatron. I talked to her a lot, because it was a way of interacting with her, and I wasn’t sure if handling her physically was painful to her.

Skandia, you write good adventure stories. I’ve been reading Skandia’s stuff, and he am good. And remember: brevity is the soul of getting those bastards to buy your stuff.

Comment from .
Time: December 3, 2014, 1:03 am

I was just about to inebriate myself chemically but then I realized that in the world where mustelids whisper to chickens for therapy it is utterly unnecessary to pour any chemicals on one’s senses.
I am short, and I am no longer afraid.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: December 3, 2014, 1:16 am

Sorry to hear about your chicken…I’d drink with you but I gotta work tomorrow.

Comment from Nina
Time: December 3, 2014, 1:21 am

I hope lifting a can of Diet Coke will suffice to honor Maggie’s memory!

Comment from J.S.Bridges
Time: December 3, 2014, 2:53 am

A sorrow for your loss – and, of course, for ours…

A glass is filled, and duly raised – its contents downed, in fond memory of one of Nature’s Creatures, one perhaps of lesser “abilities”, but also – and of much greater import, on balance – lesser “offenses”.

Mags, ol’ gal, we hardly knew ye – rest well, ye Faithful Chook.

Skandia Recluse, you sell your work too cheaply – on Amazon, anyway – although it’s nice for us reader-types that you do. If there comes a time when you would have use of some editorial assistance, please contact me by e-mail (Sweasey can no doubt assist, if needed) – I’m an old geezer, but I still have some abilities left.

Sweasey, perhaps you need to add to your chooks “collection”, come Springtime?

Comment from Frit
Time: December 3, 2014, 3:42 am

RIP Mags, you will be missed.

And yes, Stoaty, they do have souls. 🙂

Comment from catnip
Time: December 3, 2014, 3:51 am

Oh, I’m so sorry to hear of Maggie’s passing. All pets, even reptiles and fish, have unique personalities, and when an animal requires special care, one’s attachment to the little patient grows stronger.

A toast to Maggie, who was a very, very good girl, and condolences to everyone in the Badger household.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: December 3, 2014, 1:48 pm

Darling Maggie—she was part of life’s great pageant. I know Maggie loved the sound of your voice and your safe sure hands. A toast to Maggie, and a toast to you, too, Stoaty.

Comment from AltBBrown
Time: December 3, 2014, 4:37 pm

2 Glenmorangie – 1 for Mags’ passing and 1 for Skandia’s rejection.
‘Course it doesn’t take much to fill a glass these days in the USA…

Comment from tibby
Time: December 3, 2014, 6:19 pm

Here’s to Maggie the chook, she had a short, but good, life. And my sympathy to you Weez and Badger. Animals do have souls, I have no doubt.

Comment from drew458
Time: December 3, 2014, 7:30 pm

aww, poor chukchuk. sad. Furpeople don’t last long enough, and featherpeople last even less. Enjoy them in their short time and remember the good moments.

Comment from c
Time: December 3, 2014, 8:51 pm

“A nice little bird who never got a chance at the life she deserved.” Well, actually, as a member of a prey/food species, she had a better-than-average life. She wasn’t factory-farmed, she was protected even after an injury that would have brought death in the wild, she enjoyed days in the sun and warmth in the winter, never wanted for food, and was shielded from flock bullies by human intervention. She had a brief but shining life. She was luckier than most of her kind, who tend to have brief and difficult lives.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: December 4, 2014, 12:20 pm

She will be waiting at the Rainbow Bridge for you.

Comment from Blake
Time: December 5, 2014, 9:53 am

Poultry morghullis

Comment from BJM
Time: December 6, 2014, 4:27 pm

Bummer…they do indeed have souls…which is exactly why I’m torn. We moved to the county last summer and I’m on the fence about chickens, would like the eggs but I’m not sure I can handle the causalities with as much aplomb as Stoaty.

Comment from Mrs Compton
Time: December 7, 2014, 10:37 pm

Having played way to much with my food while it’s still living makes me question my food choices. I wish I could go veg but I just don’t know how to cook all that stuff and make it taste good.

RIP Maggie, your fowl mom took great care of you.

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: December 9, 2014, 3:50 pm

To Maggie! I don’t usually start this early.

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