|Clover, posing on L's bike.|
When L called me at work yesterday, I knew something was wrong. “Mom, Clover died! I went out to gather eggs and she was in the coop.” Poor L. Such a shock to find that little feathered body lying still.
I was surprised. Clover had seemed perfectly fine the day before. I pictured the small, round hen.
When we gave my sister-in-law our hen-who-was-really-a-rooster, Cluck Norris, she had the girls each pick out a bantam hen to take home. They were probably a couple years old. L picked up a little barred-rock Bantam, named Clover; and M chose a silver laced Wyandotte, named Oreo.
Several days later, a mink slipped into my sister-in-law’s coop and killed the small Bantams that remained—easy prey because they didn’t roost high. Had we waited a week, Oreo and Clover would have been among the hens that were killed. But they were safely ensconced in their new urban coop, country-chickens-turned-city-chickens, oblivious of their narrow escape. That summer, Clover was rocked and rocked on the glider, talked to, carried around, and doted on by L. We have photos of her in bicycle baskets, on pillows, in swings. We laughed because when the rest of the flock would be in another part of the yard, Clover would wander around confused, making woeful braaaahck sounds, wondering where her friends were. Somehow, she was always the hen left behind.
I’ve written about her often, how she was a brave little hen who didn’t hesitate to spar with big Thelma, drawing her little self up as tall as she could. How our Dalmatian chased poor Clover under the house, where Clover wedged herself into the lattice under the porch until we rescued her. And Clover was one of the little hens who survived the theft of our big hens that cold evening in November.
She’s had her share of close calls, has Clover. She was the hen who went to the fair, but refused to eat or drink until we relented and brought her home. As soon as she was back in her yard, with her flock, she perked right up.
We knew she was an older hen. She’d wasn't laying much, if at all, and that was OK. We didn’t have her because of her egg production.
Clover was one of L's favorites, and her passing leaves an empty space in the coop. Now, there are six.
When I arrived home and gave L a hug, she said, “She was the best little hen.”
And she was. RIP Clover.