Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Damn, She Was One Of My Favorites.
Rita in the back, Poof photobombing in on the left.
Rita was a feisty, headstrong little Cochin/Jersey Giant mix that we hatched ourselves back in 2003. She was one of my favorites and whenever I sat down out back, would come RUNNING over as fast as she could waddle (cochins aren't built for speed) to sit in my lap--and woe betide any other chicken that wanted equal lap time! Rita would warn them off right away. She would sit in my lap for as long as I would let her, and complained loudly when I set her down again. Often I'd have Rita on one knee, Babs on the other--Babs was a gift from my brother's household, and Babs thinks she is still a baby chick and insists on sitting on your lap with her head rammed in your armpit--under your wing, as it were. Rita had a habit of at the last minute, sticking her head into pictures we tried to take of the other chickens. The end result was like bad vacation snapshots, photobomb city. So it's kind of fitting that in the photo above, Poof is doing it to her.
Rita died yesterday. I don't even know what killed her. Granted, it was nearly 100 degrees yesterday, our first really hot day this year. I had gone out like I always do on hot days to hose off the chickens and yard to keep things cooler for the animals. I had gone out at 8:30AM, 10:30AM and 12:30PM. Everything was fine. I even stopped to talk to her and pet her and all was well. At 2PM when I went again to hose things off, we found her in the coop, sitting in the corner as if to lay an egg and breathing a bit hard. Since she was distressed (we thought by the heat), we brought her in to cool off. She died less than 5 minutes later. She had been eating, drinking and carrying on normally up until then. I don't know what's worse--having an animal get ill and die slowly or go quickly like that.
Rita was one of those animals that 'picked out her human'--she chose ME as her favorite human first, not the other way around. Rita's mother, Elizabeth, is elderly but still with us, and Rita's daughter, Skitters, is twice as feisty and psycho as Rita ever was. Even Moet, our very elderly Frizzle Cochin who was Rita's foster mama, is still with us.
This is Rita as a baby, back in 2003.
Last night when I went out to sit with the chickens in the evening, Rita's mother, Liz, jumped up in my lap and sat with me a while.
She's never done that before. I appreciated it.