Listening to: Nothin' (Robert Plant and Alison Krauss)
Death is a fact of life on the farm/croft/smallholding, but that never makes it any easier to handle.
One of the hens had marked herself out as a real individual. She had given up laying and on many holdings would have found her way into the pot. But we operate a 'no dropping dead unless given express permission by the sort-of-pig-farmer who happens to be a big softy' policy.
As a result, this one, at least, was going to get a long retirement. She had moved out of the henhouse (mostly to escape Adam's amorous advances) and lived off spilt or leftover pig feed.
So I felt upset and guilty when I found her dead in the pen with Kim's six piglets. We had tried to discourage her from going in with the boisterous piglets, but nothing worked and I can only assume she was caught up in the general rush for feed yesterday morning. Her body was pretty battered, but the piglets hadn't tried to eat her.
Many farmers, smallholders and crofters are hardened to the death of animals. One crofter-blogger who breeds Berkshire pigs seems to revel in showing how tough he is (I haven't read his blog since he illustrated how quickly piglets grow by posting a picture of three dead ones he'd been keeping in his freezer. Weirdo.)
I'm very much at the soft end of farming and I make no apologies for that. To me, it's impossible when you have only a few animals not to get attached and, even though I have an irrational fear of hens, I really liked Pig-Shed Hen. She made me smile and the place is all the poorer for her absence.