Tuesday, January 5, 2016



This is a picture of Henriette and her sisters, when they were younger.

  Here in Virginia we don't normally heat the structures that house chickens or ducks. We have had them here for more than ten years. The only time I use an incandescent light as a warming light is during hatching and in the immediate hatchling period.

        The breeds we have here tolerate even extreme cold, and will huddle together inside where it's dry in the rare event that it snows.  The lifespan of a Bantam hen is about seven to eight years, and that is right where these girls are. These are a cross between their Bantam mothers and Rhode Island Red sire. Still, when last evening I learned that it would be 13 degrees F overnight, I checked the housing. I wanted to make sure that everyone could find a clean, dry, place inside.  I was more concerned about some of the larger furrier dogs in the kennel than I was about the chickens.

        Life holds surprises. This morning, all the horses, elderly alpacas, ducks, cats and dogs emerged from their homes happily, but one of the hens did not.  It is unlikely that hypothermia got her. It is more likely that she had reached the end of her lifespan and was ill with something, usually respiratory. The cold weather certainly didn't help but was more likely to have been a catalyst rather than a causation. I will miss Henriette. All animals, no matter what type, are a blessing. Thanks for the eggs, the entertainment, and the loyalty. You will be missed, by your family and by your human family as well.