Tag Archives: chickens

Poor Harriet! Poor Zee!

My son has learned a sad thing that no 6-year-old should ever have to know. Chickens do not need baths, and they cannot swim. And that the life of a pet is a delicate thing.

When my 11-yr-old went to take care of our hens Harriet and Gertie this morning, Only Gertie was anywhere to be found. As I was hunting for Harriet in the yard, Zee came and said that he had given her a bath, and then he burst into tears and ran around the house and hid in the bush. Apparently, he had put the chickens into a five gallon bucket filled with water for a bath, and Gertie was standing on top of Harriet to avoid drowning. Good for Gertie, very unfortunate for Harriet.

When she stopped kicking and then closed her eyes, my poor little boy realized that something was wrong and he pulled her out of the bucket, but by then it was too late. He buried her in the back yard with grass, and didn’t tell me because he was afraid of getting into trouble, so by the time I found out, he had been carrying the weight of her death on his shoulders for a whole day.

I pulled my son out of the bushes and took him in the house where I held him and he sobbed in my lap for half an hour, and I realized that this was the reason that I had needed to have the experience of accidentally killing a pet as a child.

When I was about 6, our cat had kittens, and when the kittens were about 6 weeks old, I had taken my favorite outside to play with me. My sister wanted to play with the kitten too, but I was selfish and would not share. When my mother called me into the house, I hid the kitten from my sister in a camping cooler, and then went into the house to do my chores. And I completely forgot that the kitten was out in the cooler.  When I remembered the next morning, I ran to let her out, but she had already suffocated.

To this day I still feel guilt over the death of my poor kitty, and I imagine that it will be the same for my son, poor thing!