Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Good night, little Starlight

If you did not read yesterday's blog, please go do so now, or this post won't make much sense to you.

I am sorry to say that Starlight made it through the night, but not through today. When I returned home from work she was already gone. I am glad that she was at least able to spend her last hours in a comfortable place and without being picked on. Now it is time to remember that Starlight lived a rare, good life. She lived as a pet rather than as a future entree. She got to leave this life as nature intended.

Now I will tell you the story I promised yesterday. From the day we got her, Starlight humored us with her spunky attitude. She had no fear of our dogs and would simply give them a sharp peck on the nose if they came too close. The dogs quickly learned to give Starlight her space and they got along just fine. She perhaps didn't rule the roost in the chicken pen, but for many years held her own with the other chickens who were about three times her size.

One evening a couple of years ago, Starlight showed her spunk and most likely saved her fellow coop-mates in the process. We were inside when we heard a lot -- a LOT -- of noise from the chicken pen. The flock was squawking and carrying on and emitting the chicken equivalent of terrified screams. We rushed outside with a flashlight to find that somehow a possum had gotten in to their pen, probably drawn by the vegetable scraps we had fed the chickens. All the flock seemed fine except for Starlight who lay on the ground, seemingly dead, with her body on one side of the coop and her tail feathers on the other. It was a sad, sad sight. When we turned around the possum was gone, and all that was left to do was to take Starlight's body into the garage for the night. Just as Nick picked her up, much to our amazement she literally sprang back to life. You could almost hear the cartoon "BOING" noise, she sprang up so fast. Apparently, Starlight was either playing possum herself, or more likely passed out from the shock of having her tail feathers pulled out by the intruder. We'll never know for sure, but we felt certain that Starlight confronted the possum in her fearless manner, much as we've seen her confront the dogs, in an attempt to chase him away. Unfortunately, the possum was not a tame pet but a wild animal, not used to being told what to do by a little hen. What ever happened, we were so relieved to have Starlight spring back to life and go on to regrow a beautiful new set of tail feathers.

Starlight had a pretty good life for a chicken. She must have been at least 12 or 13 years old, possibly more. The two little kids who showed her at numerous 4-H fairs are 1) in college, and 2) teaching first grade. We'll all miss that spunky little bird. Good night, sweet Starlight.

No comments: