Goodbye, Ruby

July 3, 2016

Ruby, our production red chicken, died early yesterday morning.

Ruby, back in better days

It could have happened the night before, also.  I wasn’t there and I’m no veterinarian or forensic investigator.  Whenever she died, she was already stiff and cold by the time I did my morning check on the chickens at 7:30 a.m.  She was just lying there among the fir shavings, slipped off the roost, no injuries or wounds.  No signs of pain or struggling.  Just gone in her sleep.

The day before she had laid a very small egg – about half the size of her normal eggs.  But otherwise she was fine.  Bright red comb and wattles, shiny feathers shimmering in the late afternoon sun.  She wandered around the yard scratching and pecking for bugs and other tasty morsels.  She came running back to the coop with the others (waddle, waddle, run) when I waved their dinner of rainbow chard and lettuce leaves.  There was no sign, not the least indication that something was wrong.

Baby Ruby (on Avery’s ankle) and her sisters

I love all the animals that share our home and our lives.  However, I wouldn’t say I was particularly attached to the chickens.  There seems to be a very fine line between them and the rest of our pets.  They are livestock.  They have a job to do for us, and while I love being out in the garden while they chuckle and chortle and wander around, I feel pretty pragmatic toward them.  They will stop laying eggs eventually, and we will probably eat them at that point.

I know people will loudly disagree with me, but as far as I’m concerned chickens don’t really have personalities.  They cluck, they poop, they scratch, they eat.  Sure, they make me laugh, like the other day when all four of them were chasing a grasshopper around the backyard, cackling in delight, their large chicken bosoms heaving and wobbling with the effort.  But for the most part they ignore me, save to shamelessly beg for kitchen scraps and to be let out of the coop.

Ruby, right before laying the first egg of 2016

Ruby though.  Ruby.  She was always the nicest chicken.  The one who followed us around and jumped onto our laps when we were sitting in the backyard.  The one who would peck loudly at the back patio door and then walk confidently inside like it was where she belonged.  The one who let the girls pick her up and carry her around like she didn’t mind in the least.

I will miss that chicken.


  • nannygrannie

    July 3, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    I’m sorry! Poor Ruby. Lovely photos of her.

    1. sproutandsprig

      July 4, 2016 at 2:31 pm

      Thank you!

  • Teresa Hoyer

    July 3, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    So sorry about Ruby. She was loved and gave great eggs. She will be missed.

    1. sproutandsprig

      July 4, 2016 at 2:30 pm

      I’ll miss her, and those great big brown eggs!

  • arlingwoman

    July 4, 2016 at 1:24 am

    Poor Ruby. It sounds as though you would have had trouble eating her, though, so this may be for the best. Maybe you’ll get another chicken with personality soon.

    1. sproutandsprig

      July 4, 2016 at 2:30 pm

      Thank you. I’m just glad it was peaceful, and not because of any of the wild predators we have around here. We’ll probably wait to get more chickens until we make the move out to the farm, and then I’m sure we will, especially if my kids have anything to say about it 🙂

  • Front Porch Bliss

    July 22, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    So sorry! We lost one of our girls early on and that was crushing. I can’t imagine how hard it will be as they get older.

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