After another triple-digit day yesterday, we had a huge thunderstorm last night, which took out our electricity, and, with it, our air conditioning. I woke up at about 1:30, feeling like someone was pressing a warm, wet cloth over my nose and mouth. Sweet Husband had already retreated downstairs to our, relatively, cooler living room. Eventually, we all ended up camping out down there--the Kid on his travel cot, me on the couch, and Sweet Husband, very chivalrously, on the floor.
With not the best night of sleep under my belt, I groggily walked outside to let out the chickens as the sun was coming up. And that is when I found Miss Etta, sprawled over in the nest box.
As a means of self-preservation, I've had to distance myself a tiny bit from our ladies. They occupy an odd status in our household--they each have a name, but they're not quite "pets". They're hardy in some ways, but fragile in others. Too fragile to really love.
Etta and Tori have been the exceptions to that rule. Tori because she'll crawl into my lap when I let her; Etta because she and the Kid had such sweet interactions.
As I was digging the hole to bury Etta, I thought back to the day we brought her home. The lady I bought her from was breeding all sorts of crazy birds. I went to her because I wanted some Buckeyes, but I was persuaded into taking Etta because she looked interesting and I was assured she would be a full size chicken.
She never did get much more than about a third of the size of a normal chicken. And I think she laid less than ten tiny (mostly yolkless) eggs in the time she lived with us. A complete waste in terms of "feed to egg conversion".
But she was sweet. Whether through stupidity or blindness or something else, she would approach the Kid curiously, even when he was an unpredictable lump of baby that all the other chickens were afraid of. She would let him pat her feathers and toddle behind her as she strolled the yard for bugs. He just recently learned the word for chicken, in fact. Before about a week ago, he called all chickens "Etta".
So far, he hasn't noticed that she's gone, but I think I will--every night when I take headcount--for a long time. As far as the chickens go, one of the luckiest mistakes I've made was bringing her home.