If you grew up with Sesame Street, you'll know which one is Big Bird. They are a rare breed known as Polish where their feathered poufs grow so big it sometimes impairs their vision. They also don't set their own eggs, so it's not difficult to understand why there aren't more of them.
Ruzina's mate Apollo, as you recall, met with a sad fate this past summer, for which I am to blame. They are White Crested Black Polish. Big Bird is a Buff Laced Polish. They are very sweet and full of personality. I could always count on Big Bird to lay one pointed white egg every day, even when the other hens decided to go on strike.
Yesterday was our first rainy day in eons but it started after I let the hens out. I tried to cuddle Big Bird but she was anxious to get her scratching accomplished and was out the door after a little personal affection. Chickens don't like getting wet and I expected most of them to return to the coop. In the afternoon I went out to collect eggs and most of the hens were relaxing inside. I cannot remember if she was there.
But when the sun set, and roll was called, she was not there. Farmer Rick and I scoured the creek looking for her by flashlight. She is never one to stray far because of her limited sight. She also never flies up for the same reason, and lays her egg on the floor. Instead of a roost, we built her a staircase. Underneath all those feathers are the biggest, most beautiful chicken eyes I've ever seen!
I tried not to worry, as this happened once to Ruzina when the creek was leafy and the next afternoon I was leaning against the coop having a good cry, when up popped her white head from the brush and she came running to me. But the creek is devoid of green right now. I've trekked all over the property looking for feathers, body parts, any clue as to where she went or was taken. Nothing.
Today it is still raining and she has not shown up. I am reluctant to let the other hens out in case there is a predator lurking. I would gladly trade those two bad Egyptian Fayoumis hens, Amelia and Sacajewea (now Sack of Potatoes), to have her back. They are always the ones sneaking onto the front lawn (where the grass IS greener), smoking, flirting with boys, taking chances with the preacher's wild dogs. You wouldn't catch Big Bird associating with them.
When you have a farm and lots of animals you deal with loss. Joy and sorrow go hand in hand. I'm trying to remain hopeful.
Say a little prayer.