It is with the heaviest of hearts that I write to let friends & fans of Rufina that my nightmare of the past eight years has come true: my beloved hen was killed by raccoons last night. This amazing, resilient, gentle creature’s life came to a violent end because I forgot to lock her hutch. The same night that f-ing marauding raccoons were on the hunt. I even heard them screaming, the raccoons, sounding like cats in a fight … I got up in the middle of the night, turned on the yard lights & didn’t see anything. But the lights don’t go as far as the back of the yard where Rufina’s hutch is.
After all she’s been through — shot in the head, adjustment to the loss of her eyes & life as a blind hen, losing half her body weight because of some kind of fungal illness 2 summers ago (successfully treated), two episodes of almost dying of heat stroke when she wandered too far away from shade and water — I just wanted her to have a natural death in her own time. I didn’t want her story to end this way and my heart is broken at the thought, at my failure, and at the stillness and silence of the yard.
I might have the energy to write an obituary at some point, but right now I’m just too sad. Here are a few pictures of my sweet girl, 9-yrs-old at the time of her death (and still laying a few eggs a week, which is truly amazing).
Beautiful girl with her strange scaly legs and feet damaged by frost bite.
Sunning herself the way she like to do on a winter afternoon, lying down with wing out to soak up the warmth.
Shiny and black but not really black at all.
And here, buried this morning at her favorite sunning spot with a handful of flowers. I love her so.