In Mourning

Today is a sad day for my little half-mountain family. Sometime between 7 am and 9 am, our sweet girl Stella passed on to Big Chicken Heaven in the Sky.

Her death wasn't peaceful or blameless or quick. And when we found her, we cried and screamed and raged at the dogs who'd dug their way into our yard and then into the coop to get to her.

After a mournful call to the mountain man at work, we got the dogs caged up for Animal Control and we held a small burial for sweet, sweet Stella. We shared our thankfulness that Maisy, Lulu, and Fancy escaped a similar death (though poor Lulu lost all her tail feathers). We cried some more and said mean things about the dogs' owner.

And then we began a long morning of remembering:

Stella as a baby chick with her downy black fuzz. How we would find her perched on top of her watering and feed jugs, how she'd sit right on top of the other chicks, and how she had to be chased down if you wanted to hold her but then she'd nuzzle right against your neck.

Stella as the leader of the pack, always a few paces ahead of Maisy and Lulu, always first to enter any situation -- whether it was heading into the garden for foraging or greeting anyone who came for a visit.

Stella as the dominant girl whose chest puffed up to twice its size when we put Fancy in the coop for the first time, who grew bigger and faster than her sisters, and who always ate first.

Our grand plans for our Stella were always tempered by the nagging feeling that all was not as it seemed. And so the nickname "Stella the Fella" was born. Our Stella who was likely not one of the girls at all.

We loved her and feel a deep sadness that we failed to protect her from the clumsy predators who worked so diligently to get into her safe haven. We've learned a lesson here and will ensure our other babies remain as safe as we can keep them.

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
love leaves a memory no one can steal.

May you rest peacefully our Stella the Fella. You will be missed.


  • Anonymous

    Kelly, I am finally posting to your blog. This is so sad. It has been interesting following your chicken adventure. Can't help but think that since Stella was the dominant one, that he/she probably protected all the others and did the best he/she could to save them. He/she is a little hero. Kim (FayJC)

  • TKW

    Oh no! Not our Stella! There was so much chicken love for her going on...I'm so sorry. Hugs and kisses to you all...at least she was loved so well while alive.

  • Bibliomama

    Crap. Irresonponsible dog owners suck. Glad that you gave her such a great life.

  • Stacia

    Oh, how terrible! I bet she (he?) went out in style, though, telling those mean dogs what was what and to stay away from the rest of her chicken friends. I bet she went out giving them the proverbial finger, or the claw, I guess. RIP, Stella.

  • Melissa

    Poor Stella. That sucks. I'm so sorry.

  • Hyacynth

    Oh, that makes me so sad for you and your little ones. Having raised her through chickhood makes it even worse. Poor Stella.

  • Kelly Miller

    Y'all are making me cry again. Our Stella was definitely a fighter! I have had a little daydream where she bumrushed those asshole dogs and got a few really good, sharp pecks in. Because she was a strong and sassy and not one to back down from a fight. (Though, dammit! Why couldn't she fly up into the trees like the other girls?!)

  • amber_mtmc

    Aw! What an awful and tragic ending. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful chicken.

  • The Drama Mama

    I'm so very sorry. I too think she was a heroic as she could be and thus will always be remembered as such.

    Your neighbor sounds a lot like mine.

  • Unknown

    oh my goodness so sad. stupid dogs!

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