R.I.P Ramona Rickettes

I know a lot of our new readers are here for the food, but the heart of our operation is really the animals that live with us. I need to share a few words about our recently departed hen, Ramona Rickettes. When Krista went out to let the chickens out yesterday morning, she found Ramona lying still and quiet in the run. There was no sign of violence or illness, just a quiet bird lying down like she was taking a nap. We spent a long time trying to guess what went wrong – was she egg-bound and we didn’t notice? It seems unlikely since we spend a lot of time with them, but it’s possible. Could she have eaten something sharp or poisonous? Did her heart give out from the excitement of a rare sunny day? We’ll never know, we can just re-double our efforts to be vigilant, re-read all the books and hope we’re better at spotting problems in the future.

She was supposed to be a Welsummer, but through a fateful mix-up, we got a Speckled Sussex instead. She was an extremely cute, spirited chick who grew into a beautiful speckled bird. She reliably laid lovely light brown eggs. She was one of the best models during the early days of chick photography.

She was best friends with Pepper Walker, and you rarely saw one of them without the other. They were closer friends than any of our other birds, and I feel especially bad for poor Pepper, who has lost her kindred chicken spirit.

I know she was “only a chicken,” but what a chicken! She was one of our first chickens, and she brought so much joy and life into our backyard. Thank you for the cuddles, Ramona, and for your peeps that grew into squawks. Thank you for quiches, fritattas and poached eggs on toast. Rest in Peace, Ramona Rickettes. You were a funny, beautiful bird and we miss you so much.


Filed under chickens

19 responses to “R.I.P Ramona Rickettes

  1. So sad! We lost one of our hens last summer in the same way—she even laid an egg that morning, and was dead by afternoon with no sign of struggle, illness, or violence. At least you know she had a good life, and most likely didn’t suffer.

    • It’s pretty challenging to accept the brief lives of these backyard birds. They are so lovable and alive one second, and then…Ramona didn’t lay an egg that morning, which is why we are wondering about egg-binding, but we’ll never know. We’re not doing an autopsy.

      I’m sorry about your hen, too.

  2. francesca


    r.i.p. ramona

  3. What a sweet lil hen! I’m sorry for your loss.

  4. I am so sorry about Ramona. How old was she? I ask because last spring we added 5 new chicks to 5 older hens (about 8 yrs old) and a rooster, and this fall one of the old ones (our Golden Buff Orphington) did the same yours did. She hasn’t laid eggs in years…so it wasn’t that. She just grew quiet, and preferred to stay inside when the others were out. Then she just died. I made sure she had water when she wanted it and crushed scratch grain..but one day she refused to drink water. And then we lost her. Now I have another one of the old brood. She is an Aracauna and she is doing the same thing as the Buff. I know she moves around inside the chicken house, but with great effort and very slowly, she is still drinking, but I think it is the stages of death..
    I had 2 older Aracaunas, and one Speckled Sussex (one of my favorite breeds) left. One is light color and one is dark. Last week some local boys threw a cement cinder block through the back chicken house window and within days the light color Aracauna is acting the same as the Buff did. We checked her for injury and she has none, and yet she is going the way of the Buff. I think the trauma was too much for her. She is indeed showing the signs of the dying process. It is weird to many to say but these some chickens DO have distinct personalizes, but they all do, and SOME are really really BIG…My Speckled Sussex is still running around with the young ones…she’s is so cute… (sorry so LONG>>>>)

    • It’s okay to leave a long comment, thanks for sharing the story of your mixed flock. What kind of chickens are your new girls?

      Ramona was only 10 months old, so either she had some kind of genetic defect or she ran into a life-shortening event. I guess it happens sometimes. It’s just tough when you only have a few chickens and they are so awesome – they definitely take on a mythology beyond a ‘normal’ chicken.

      • oh my 10 months is young.. when I ordered last spring i thought we might be moving soon, so i only got 5 (what an odd number!) Five Aracauna (Americaunas ?sp?) I LOVE Buff Orphingtons and Speckled Sussex..such personalities, and their eggs are big… And Aracaunas..they lay well into the winter …and for a long time.. I am sorry I only ordered 5, but still not sure if we will move. I would love to..and have more property..which of course means more animals! I figure the smaller the amount of animals you have the easier to move right? And yet I am not even sure we Will move..(life keeps changing on me!)
        When I think a chicken is sick I use homeopathic remedies for them..so far it has worked..we have had chickens for 25 years here and so far no major illnesses..some traumas..(animals like dogs destroying a flock, and the usually raccoon and opossum, etc) a lot of fun though..and nothing spoils you more then fresh eggs! (and those happy personalities..like watching fish in an aquarium!)

  5. Enjoy the rainbow bridge to chicken heaven. You were a beautiful bird and a good chicken friend to Pepper:)

  6. Sorry for your loss. But it is good that you love your birds.

  7. Pre

    I’m so sorry for your loss :( lots of love to your family and especially to Pepper Walker.

  8. She really was beautiful. I’m sure she had a very happy life with you.

  9. Ray

    They are more than only chickens; they’re family. So sorry.

  10. I’m sorry Ramona left your family so suddenly, but she certainly didn’t leave without knowing she was very loved.

  11. Jen

    Aw, I’m so sorry for your loss.

  12. That stinks. Sorry for your loss.

  13. Patrice Helmar

    Dear Krista & Jess,

    Ramona was a beautiful bird. I’m glad you gave her such a good home.



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