"You don't know what you have until its gone"
A little after noon I went down to the chicken coop to collect eggs. Broody hen was setting on her nest of Marans eggs and there were two little Orpington eggs in the box next to her. Egg production has slightly dropped but I'm sure its from a combination of heat, molting and of course one of which is broody. So no worries egg drop is of natural causes. :)
Before I walked back up to the house I did a chicken count as I always do. They were free ranging in the field, scratching for insects and finding bare spots for a good old fashion dust bath. All were accounted for. I felt reassured as I walked back to the house in the blistering heat.
Lee and I had left the homestead for a bit late in the afternoon. By the time we returned to the house the evening sky had further dimmed. We had yet to tuck the critters in so we drove down the the barn. All the chickens were setting on the roost, ready for the door to be shut until morning. I once again did a head count. My heart sank as I realized one was missing. Not just any chicken, but my only Marans hen.
I was sick to my stomach. I had hoped that she and Hijeevey would build a new flock of pure bred Marans, and we could get rid of the others. My heart sank at the thought of starting over. But not only was I saddened for my own selfish reasons but also that the great love of Hijeevey's life was gone!!! How horrible!?
I looked into Hijeevey's big chicken eyes, as his head hung low. I knew that he felt sad and alone. Poor Jeeves! Hijeevey and Marans hen are always side by side. Rarely ever separated! Who would fill the void? Certainly not the Barred Rockington. Her feathers didn't sparkle in the sun light. She would always run from Jeeves, she showed no respect. Certainly it wouldn't be her! No hen would he find the same comforts with as he did the Marans hen. I know he loved her. I could tell by the way he looked at her. The way he walked when she was around... He walked like roo in love! (Her ruffled feathers was also a sure fire sign that she was his favorite)
Lee and I start scanning the field and tree line looking for any signs of a struggle. I started calculating how long it had been since I had seen her last and questioning any peculiar behavior from the dogs, or abnormal clucking from the coop that I may have just shrugged off. Nothing came to mind other than at noon there was not a Marans egg in the box but at 8:45pm, when I noticed she was missing, there was a Marans egg in the box. Well,Dear Watson, that tells me that she went missing between the hours of 12'ish pm and 8:45pm. But wait! She usually takes about and hour+ in the nesting box when she lays an egg. So that changes the time to 1'ish pm and 8:45pm. Assuming she nested right after I collected the eggs. That gives us nearly 8 hours that she wasn't accounted for. That didn't give us much to go on. I so dearly wanted the mystery to be solved.
My heart sank even farther as I knew most predators wouldn't grab a chicken in broad daylight. I started to feel like the loss of our little Marans hen was all our fault. We should have tucked them in earlier. Just a little earlier and she would have been safe.
Lee and I had lost hope. I hated shutting the coop door as I knew that once I did she wouldn't have a fighting chance, but I had to protect the others. The slam from the door echoed in my head as I felt like I was sealing the little Hens fate.
I hated to leave not knowing. I procrastinated a minute longer as I leaned down to pick up a tipped over water dish. "Eak!", I screamed. What an unexpected surprise! It was our Marans hen!
Well just let me tell you buddy, when I saw that little Marans hen sitting contently underneath that dish I thought it was the purdiest sight that I had ever seen!
My heart sang with joy as Lee scooped her up and I gave her a loving pat on the noggin. I didn't realize how much I liked little Marans hen until I thought she was gone. And so that my friends, is how Purdy got her name. ;)
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you.... Hijeevey and Purdy lived happily ever after!