I am sad to announce the passing of “Duchess” - the silver laced Wyandotte hen.
At nearly 10years old, she was the last remaining hen from my first flock. In her stronger years she was the “top hen” having helped to raise and nurture several batches of chicks, and maintaining the dynamics of the flock. She survived several predator attacks, and struggled through a few harsh winters that resulted in frost bite injury to her toes - this hardly slowed her down, and she continued to maintain her status even after the introduction of a few new roosters and larger hens.
In the last year she was showing her age, no longer laying eggs, walking with a wobble, and declining in energy and vigor. In the most recent sunny days, she would be seen spending most of the time just laying in the warmth with her closer companions nearby watching over her.
Last night I found her sitting on the ground of the run looking very frail, I knew this would likely be her last few days so I brought her inside so Mia could see her and say goodnight. I let her rest in the warmth and comfort of indoors and she passed away in her sleep overnight. She lived a long, comfortable life treated with kindness that is rarely afforded to poultry.
Duchess was gentle, tolerant, and lovable. She seemed to enjoy being carried around by my daughter, and always had this presence of a sweet old lady who would hang out with me around the garden.
She will be missed.