The White Rock in the Arctic Air

As they say in New Hampshuh’, it’s wicked cold.


Sunday into Monday
7:00 p.m.      2 degrees
8:00 p.m.      0 degrees
9:00 p.m.      -3 degrees
10:00 p.m.    -5 degrees

Fast Forward…
2:00 a.m.     -18 degrees
4:00 a.m.     -20 degrees
7:00 a.m.     -23 degrees


Really really cold.  November/December was pretty fabulous. When that occasionally happens I always start to wonder if maybe winter won’t really come after all.


But it always does and it is here.


Sadly, my last remaining beautiful white chicken did not make it through the day.


As you may recall, we had a chicken attack a couple of weeks ago by an unnamed assassin.  It got a white chicken (called a White Rock) and a brownish/red one (Rhode Island Red).  We only had two white chickens to begin with, so we were left with only one white left.  


The white chickens were my favorite.  They were the fattest, the prettiest, had the most personality, and seemed to be the most devoted to their favorite human (me 🙂  Whenever I started walking toward the coop, all the chickens paid attention, hoping for some food, but the white waddled so fast toward me, they always made me laugh.


Winter came, the attack occurred, and I noticed that the remaining white chicken was ostracized from the group.  Without her other white companion the other chickens rejected her.  This was surprising as most of them came as chicks in April, and were raised together.  But she was no longer invited to perch at night on the ladder.  She was always by herself and pretty soon stayed alone in a corner.  She seemed depressed.  Is this what they mean when they say, “pecking order”?


The last few days when I’d go down to feed them, she’d look at me, but never go after the food I would drop.  And it became so very very cold.  And still she stayed in the corner, closest to the door that opened to the outside air.  I told the kids on the way to church that the other chickens weren’t playing nice and that she didn’t have any more friends.


Yet she continued to lay her daily egg and sitting on the other ones laid, to keep them warm until I came to collect them.  She never pecked me when I reached under her to retrieve them.  This was strange too because chickens peck at everything.


Perhaps against my better judgment I opened the chicken door yesterday morning so the “girls” could get some fresh air and hop around outside if they chose.  Some of them ventured out a few minutes but chickens don’t like to walk on snow.  The little walk didn’t last long.  


The day became colder and colder, with the door open, and she just stood by it, never moving.  Another factor working against her is that the white chicken variety, in general, are not as hearty as the other ones, but they seemed to do very well together until this week, when she was left without her friend.


We found her after church, keeled over her eggs, right in front of the open door.  Why she didn’t move out of the cold I don’t know.  Perhaps it was the mean girls who wouldn’t let her come closer to get warm.  She just got weaker and colder until mercifully she dropped over.  And I felt so bad!  Brynne has also given this a lot of thought and said several times, “I feel so bad for that poor poor chicken.”


Do the other hens feel any remorse?  No, chickens are pretty stupid.  


Poor little chicken, my favorite beautiful hen.  All she ever wanted was a few kind words, an invitation to perch with the group, and to lay her daily egg for me.  The arctic blast was definitely a contributing factor but I think my white hen really died from a broken heart.

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2 thoughts on “The White Rock in the Arctic Air

  1. Allison Nelson

    My heart breaks for your white chicken. 🙁 I have such an affinity for animals; I wanted to be a VET when I was a kid. Poor baby. The social dynamics are very interesting, Amy. I guess chickens aren’t color blind? Even if they are, they’d detech differences in pigment/ shades. Anyway, sad, sad, sad.

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