R.I.P Big Black Hen

I had been late to harvest my garlic this year, I was actually late getting it into the garden bed also, so I didn’t think it would mind an extra few weeks in the ground. As it turns out, the recently dug up garlic bed became functional for another use. I dug deeper into the bed base and made the final resting place for one of my favorite hens.. a large, black Araucana. Very sad!
Sprinkling some lime around the hole I had dug, I gently put her in position. I covered her in a thicker layer of lime before adding the dirt, as this will deter those foxes from digging her up, as well as help with breaking her decompsing body down quicker.

Big black hens final resting place, in the garlic patch, by the lemon balm

This situation made even sadder for the fact that in her death, she orphaned 6 babies, these chicks being only 24 hours old. Another sad fact is that this was the beginning of motherhood for her. After sitting diligently for 21 days on her eggs, she won’t get to raise them now.

Orphaned babies checking out their new abode, seemingly oblivious they'd just lost their mama

It makes it all the more harder to handle when it was our fault that this had occurred, it was that one time we’d forgotten to shut the door behind them, but that is all it takes for that orange predator to strike. They cannot be blamed I suppose, they have mouths to feed including their own.. but there are so many wild rabbits around. Take a couple of those & leave my chooks alone!
Ironicly though, they never actually managed to escape with my hen, the fox had been discovered.. I wish it had have been sooner. However, the beasts discovery was early enough to protect the rest of my vulnerable flock, for this I am thankful.

My big black hen was lying motionless on the floor of the pen, her babies cheeping their beaks off from their hiding places. One by one we discover them by  torch light & holding 3 together, wrapped in our pajama’s..  they’re tucked up as though I’d just been picking plums or peacherine’s without a basket.
I mentaly work out where all the brooder gear is, it needs dusting off  &  it will be set up in the dining room..  to house these cute little cottonballs on legs.

As it was 1.30am, I put mama hen in a safe place for tomorrows burial.. in the garlic patch.
I wanted to cry, I was mad.