It’s been a rough week for our little backyard farm.

On Christmas Eve, Jess discovered that one of our hives had died. We decided to look for a bright side. There is a ton of honey left to harvest. This will make it easier to move the hive to a different spot as planned. We still have one surviving hive, and we can get more bees in the spring. We’re not sure what happened, although Jess’ theory is that on the day I was stung by several bees she may have somehow killed the queen in her haste to get the thing closed up.

Yesterday, just as our Christmas cheer was winding down, Levi said he heard a chicken noise in the yard and went to investigate. I made him stop and put on his boots because I didn’t want him running outside in his new slippers. The chickens make crazy noises all the time, it wasn’t dusk yet, and a few of the chickens were visible from the door. I will probably always feel guilty for making him change his shoes, even though it is very unlikely he could have saved our precious Hatchet-Face.

Levi returned from the yard a few minutes later, visibly shaken, announcing that Hatchet-Face was dead. I was completely stunned. I ran outside and stood over the huge mess of feathers, just staring at her for several minutes. I couldn’t believe she was gone, even though most of her body was right in front of me. Only the neck was missing and her head was unrecognizable. We’re pretty certain a raccoon was the culprit. What a terrible waste. I am trying to tell myself that it was probably over very quickly.

We were so fond of that goofy bird. We know that keeping chickens means dealing with loss and often short little lives. I just feel so cheated, though. She was our little heroine; the runt who outgrew her flock mates in the end. Despite her rough start in life she was delivering us a beautiful blue egg almost every single day. I have never seen another pure white Easter Egger with dinosaur green legs like her before. It never failed to cheer me up to look outside and see the way Hatchy ran across the yard with such gusto, or the funny exaggerated head-bobbing as she walked. We would be heartbroken to lose any of these ladies, but this just seems so wrong. We were talking about it today, and both realized that in the end it makes sense that she was the one to get picked off because she was a loner (a rebel), often off exploring by herself.

Rest in peace, Mona “Hatchet-Face” Malnorowski. We already miss you.


Filed under bees, chickens

17 responses to “Loss

  1. Man. Sorry for the losses this week.

  2. cookingsomethingsimple

    I’m very sorry to hear about hatchet, and your bee hive hopefully the new year will harold in better tidings.

  3. Jill

    Hi. I really love your blog and enjoy hearing about your chickens and other adventures. So sorry to hear about HF. She was quite a trooper.

  4. This is very sad. I’m sure you’re right that it was over quickly, but it’s terrible anyway. I’m so sorry.

  5. Lokyra Stone

    I’m sorry you’ve lost an animal friend. That’s always rough. And it’s always rough to lose a hive.

  6. We had a family of raccoons kill most of our backyard flock in one evening… it wasn’t even night yet. We can relate to your sadness. It almost made us want to give up on keeping hens, but we love having them too much.

    We have 2 hives as well and one is very weak. We figured out that a skunk is terrorizing the hive at night. This is a new one for us.

    So sorry about your losses.

  7. Sorry for your loss, as a fellow chicken keeper I know how difficult it is to lose our feathered friends. I’m glad to have stumbled upon your blog, I be back for sure.

  8. I am so sorry to hear about your losses this week. May the new location lead to a strong and healthy hive.

  9. Thank you one and all for the kind words. It really does help.

  10. R.I.P., Hatchet-Face. We will all miss you!

  11. So sorry about the hive and Hatchet-Face. At least you’ll have plenty of frames with comb for the spring, but it is still heart breaking.

  12. Kris

    Oooh, how sad! She was such a little trooper. Sorry for your loss :(

  13. Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of Hatchet-Face and her perfect, blue eggs (I just read that post a couple of days ago).

  14. Oh no, I am just catching up on blogs. So sorry for the loss of your bees and Hatchet :(

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