Friday, November 16, 2007

Dog Pen, Visiting the chickens

It rained today, but that didn't stop me from putting up the rest of the pen for the dogs. This is Patrick looking things over in his new, expanded space. All three boys seemed to appreciate the room, even though it was dark by the time I had it ready for them. I have done quite a bit of work outside in the rain, in fact. Last night I dug up an area in front of the house to plant crocus and tulips. I found some bulbs on clearance at the hardware store, so took advantage of the sale and bought several packages. I haven't put them in the ground yet, but I will do it tomorrow. I know how happy I will be to see them come up in the spring.

I have been thinking about the chickens in their new home, so I looked up the address of their new owner and searched for it over in Quoddy Village. When I found it, I drove in the driveway and was greeted immediately at the front door by the man who bought Carrie's car. He told me that Hannah was dead. Then he took me out to see all the chickens, which were in an outdoor pen about a quarter of the size of the one I had. Their inside coup is even smaller, and there are twenty-four of them. Demeter and Annie were huddled together on one of the roosts, both of them with feathers sticking out at odd angles and raw places on their necks and backs. Mary was strutting around as if she owned the place, apparently fitting in with her new friends without a problem.

It's hard to describe the feelings that welled up inside me. I find it hard to get the picture of Annie and Demeter out of my mind. I abandoned them amd shirked the responsibility I took on to provide for them. I killed Hannah and sent the others to a cold, crowded place where they are picked on by more dominant hens and roosters. It's beyond my ability to comprehend and accept it all. I have come full circle back to the early days of my chicken experience when I couldn't protect them from raccoons and so many of them were killed.

Of course they are only a few chickens in a world where chickens are raised in terrible conditions and slaughtered routinely. They are "harvested" like vegetables. Millions of people are starving and suffering and dying all over the world. How insignificant the lives of my four chickens are. How ridiculous of me to care so much.
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