We’re saddened tonight by the passing of our favorite chicken, Josephine, who was killed by a hawk. She was a bantam cochin, with feathery feet. Her eggs were distinguishable by being the smallest, as she was our only bantam, but she was a reliable layer, and if I've ever given you a dozen eggs, you've probably had one of hers.
Beyond such professional accomplishments, Josephine was the friendliest of our chickens, and the kids liked to hold her. She was given to me by a friend as a cheer-up gift in 2007, the year we started keeping chickens, and we had suffered our first predator loss. Paired with the world’s nicest rooster, another bantam called Napoleon, the two helped blur our conceptual boundaries between livestock and pet.
Before we started with chickens, Marci and I made a pact that we would never become those sort of chicken people who personified their birds, named them, invented personalities for them, or even discussed them on the Internet. Chickens like Josephine, though, make such grandstanding awfully difficult.
She was a lovely hen and will be a permanent influence in how we all think about chickens.