Sad, but true.
I decided last fall not to get any more egg-laying chickens until I had a better chicken house for them. Between the raccoons, which just chewed through the wooden walls (or door) to get in, and the squirrels which ate more chicken feed than the chickens, it just wasn't worth the wear and tear on either me or the chickens. By this spring there was only one chicken left. All the rest basically died of old age. I'd come in in the morning and one would be flat on the ground and that would be that. Very considerate of them, I thought, to expire so simply.
Anyway, the last chicken soon became Chicken and I let her run around outside the chicken yard. She had a fine time pecking at bugs and eating bird seed and became quite good friends with Kip the dog and Pepper the cat. It wasn't unusual for all three of them to be settled down on the front porch looking out at the world. And like the other pets, Chicken soon got into the habit of wandering into the Studio. I didn't worry about it because the concrete floor was easy to clean up, although.I did draw the line at her coming into the house. I told my friends and anyone else who came by that she was retired.
So on Tuesday, which was the almost-hottest day of the summer so far, Chicken came into the Studio and poked around as usual, but I looked at her and thought she didn't look as bright-eyed as she should have. She drank some of the dog's water, clucked a few times, and went back outside.
At noon I found her lying in her usual spot on the porch, but no longer watching the world.
I'm thinking a small series of tiles, about a Little Red Hen, will be a good way to remember my Last Chicken.