My little boy can slaughter a chicken and accompany Reggie the Ram to Matkins Meat Processors. He has soldiered through the deaths of baby chicks, the guinea fowl massacre, and the failure to thrive of five baby goats. But this afternoon after the first day of school he was floored when he heard about the violent end of our favorite chicken; Sparkle the Shining Ninja. The boy sobbed her name over and over - all I could do was hold him and sympathize with him. We all loved her.
Sparkle was one of our four original chicks. We brought them home from Sumner-Byrd last August when they were only a few days old and then turned around and took them up to a family reunion in New York State. Every day we held them and changed their bedding. They were excellent travelers.
Two of our original four have gone on to live at Green Dragonfly Farm. We kept Sparkle and Timmy partly because of their personalities; partly because of the names our children gave them. They have both gone through many changes over the last year, from brooding in their nesting boxes to exploring tall grasses. Sparkle surprised us all by eventually flying over the fence and free-ranging it. She would roam all the way to our doors, clucking for some bread crusts. She also loved to explore in the garden. Just last week, she hopped up onto the arm of the camp chair my mom was sitting on in hopes of some treat. Or maybe she just felt like being friendly.
When I was in London this summer I read an alarming facebook message from my husband stating that Sparkle was missing! Luckily, she was only hidden away under the tarp on my Dad’s work table incubating her baby chick. The family enjoyed watching her lead “Baby Sparkle” all around the yard. Unfortunately, the great outdoors is a rough place for a baby and she disappeared one day.
Today was another tragic day. Our dog Molli was the cause of the guinea fowl massacre and she has killed four young unnamed chickens since then. We mistakenly thought that she could only catch the pullets and that our older chickens would be safe. We discovered we were wrong when Jason found Sparkle in front of the hen house today.
I knew that my boy had heard the news when I heard the sobbing. I ran in to hold him, only gaining a break from the tears when I told him I was going to bury her in the garden. “Not in the garden!” he announced. I suggested burying her in a corner where I didn’t plant and where the dogs couldn’t dig. He agreed to this but said “I want to dig”. We dug as deep as we could in the dry hard ground and put rocks on her grave to protect her.