Today was a sad day. In fact, it’s one of the saddest that we’ve had here on the Farm. My beloved Elvis went to chicken heaven today. Somehow, he accidentally flew into the goat pen and I guess Dolly thought he had come to play.
As you may recall, Elvis was one of our Father’s Day Miracle Chickens. We were headed to my parents’ to cook a Father’s Day brunch and of course, we volunteered to bring the eggs. We asked Grace to collect the eggs that morning and little did she know that we were letting a broody hen incubate a bunch of eggs the old fashioned way. I guess the hen was taking a break when Grace came in and she picked all of those eggs up.
As I began cracking open eggs, I realized that these were not your normal scrambled egg variety. We quickly put them all in the car after we realized what had happened. We were planning to go home and dispose of them. We got distracted when we got home and left the eggs on the porch. The next morning, Steve walked out and heard a chirp from the bag. Immediately we put them into the incubator and over the next few days, we hatched several babies. Keep in mind that conditions have to be close to perfect to hatch eggs but these baby chicks were fighters and we got a whole batch of chickens on that Father’s Day. It’s an experience we will never forget. Elvis was one of those babies.
He was raised up with the guineas and as they matured, he just wasn’t able to keep up. But he did learn to fly with them and quickly moved high up in the rafters of the barn which isn’t typical of chickens. He didn’t belong to any of the other flocks so he adopted us….me, in particular.
Every morning when I walk outside, he flies down from the rafters like a hawk and greets me at the driveway. He always does a little chicken dance which I have since learned is how roosters lay claim to their hens. He follows me around during all my morning chores and he struts around the barnyard like he owns the place. In some ways, I guess he did.
The other roosters didn’t like him at all and were sure to try and chase him away anytime he neared their flocks. He was the fastest of them all and it was so cute how he always ran to us for protection. He loved to be held and petted. He was quick to learn who we trusted and would follow others around too and even let our visitors hold him. I loved him for his entire life. What a rare and beautiful thing to love a creature from birth until death. Now you may think that’s silly to love a chicken but I’m here to tell you that my heart is broken. Tears are streaming as I try to write a fitting tribute. Farm life is amazing but it is hard.
When Steve came in today and told me what had happened, we both had a long cry. After awhile, I told him I just couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t let myself get so attached. And he said something that I’ll never forget. He said, “You have to. It’s the reason our animals are happy. It’s what we do.” I guess he’s right. It’s the way we do things here on the Farm.
As I’ve reflected today, I’ve tried to think about what I learned from Elvis and I thought I’d share a few things.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t fly that high.
If you feel like doing a little dance, don’t even hesitate….just do it.
Find your people and love them with reckless abandon. There was never a day when I wasn’t 100 percent certain that he loved me.
Give your people a hug when they need it. (He gave great chicken hugs).
If you don’t feel like you fit in where you are, you may just need to find another flock.
Love has no boundaries ….even across species.
I am grateful for our little miracle chicken. Elvis was truly a blessing to us. I will miss his funny personality and his fierce loyalty. I will miss the silly way he strutted around the farm and picked on the other roosters. But most of all, I will miss him swooping down from the rafters and his silly chicken dance to greet me each day. I dread going outside tomorrow morning. But I will keep on loving because that’s what we do here at Forevermost Farms.