November 2006 – September 2015
Our beautiful speckledy Coucou Marans hen has died at the grand old age of 8 years and 9 months . . . which in hen-years is very old indeed. A few weeks ago she lost the use of one leg (no visible sign of injury or swelling, it may have been paralysis after a stroke) in all other respects she retained her indomitable spirit and quiet determination. But I knew this would be her last summer.
Phoebe's first appearance on this blog was on Saturday 17 March 2007, my third ever blog post. I paid tribute to her on the 6th anniversary of her arrival in our garden, when she shared a special cake. She was an old lady then, we were so lucky she went on to enjoy two and a half more years laying the occasional egg, giving the younger hens old-fashioned looks and skilfully chasing and catching flies on the lawn before going to bed.
What a privilege it has been to get to know her so well (she loved porridge oats but wasn't keen on potato or anything sticky). I'll miss stroking her feathers, which were as soft and silky as a vintage Hermès silk scarf, while I thought through a problem and put things in perspective – Phoebe was a good listener.
R.I.P. dear Great Aunt Phoebe