Heartbroken today as I lost my little girl Spackled. She had been ill for several weeks not eating and not passing food out of her crop. This has also happened last November when she was moulting and recovered however this year the energy needed was too much for her. Spackled had had multiple visits the vets and yesterday and last night she stayed there for a series of X-Rays to track her digestion however were was zero movements and this morning after a call from the vets that she as not doing well, 30 minutes later he called to tell let me know we had last her.
Spackled was one of the first four chickens we got on April 30th, 2015. Both Spackled and Chasseur had been reserved for someone else at the breeding place, but they had not returned for them, so we got them along with OxO and Paxo.
My mum called her Spackled Fried Rice, but I called her Sergeant Major Speckled.
Spackled was one of the loudest girls you will ever meet, she never stops I don’t know how she never had a sore throat, the only times she is quiet is after she has been sitting on my knee for 5 minutes and is starting to snooze. But the rest of the time she was always barking orders at me.
After Bisto and Chasseur passed see became the Boss of the Coop and runs the Coop like a military operation which is where she earned the name Sergeant Major Speckled.
From the way she stands with chest out and neck in, Sergeant Major Speckled just need the cane under her wing as she keeps all the girls in order. She lined them all up at feather pruning time, walking down the line checking everyone feather, pulling and pecking at the other girl’s feathers telling them to tidy themselves up.
When it comes to bedtime the girls have to follow Sergeant Major Speckled instructions and have to enter the coop in the correct order. If one of the girls try to go into the coop in the out of order, she will send them out. If she gets annoyed, she will throw them all out and make them start again.
Each chicken had a role to play in the flock, and before Speckled took over the flock she was the designated lookout and would often be standing in position watching the area ready to signal the flock should anything come into range.
During this time, we lived in Cumbria Speckled would only lay her eggs now and then but she would go broody all the time gathering all the eggs and try to hatch them every day during this she would not eat and would lose some of her feathers, we would always leave her with food and water next to her so she always had something. To try and break her out of this we would lift her out and each time we did this she would make a dash making a little noise with each step and head for a stump that she would peck and look at us as if to say ‘ok I’ve foraged, can I go back in the coop now’.
This would continue throughout her life except for our brief move to Aberdeenshire. During this time Speckled would not lay or go broody, this was not surprising due to the environment during this time. However as soon as we moved to Avonbridge al the girls became much happier and started laying again, and I even started doing a little stream on Facebook that can still be watched here. she also started to moult properly for the first time with Spackleds extreme style of moulting were she would pull all her feathers out rather than just a couple at a time, this last to her having to say in for a month in November until she grew them back.
During this time, the girls would move from sleeping in the coop to sleep in the shed to in their box in the kitchen. Speckled accelerated this process by every time we put the perches in the coop, she would kick them out. I think she had liked the luxury life back in Cumbria as after the flooding we moved them into the conservatory where she would sleep high up on an old bed frame that was up against the wall.
After moving the girls to the shed and out of the garden for the freezing and windy months. Speckled the Boss, immediately took to jumping on the top of their coop to snooze before I carry her into the coop. Speckled would normally sit on the opposites side of the Coop roof to me but later moved to sit resting on my arm next to Gravy.
When Speckled would sit perched on my arm like this she would let me rest my head on her back like a cushion. This later lead to the way she liked to be cuddled. Unlike the others that would always want to be up for a cuddle, Speckled would come on her terms and ask to be picked up for a cuddle. She would always act all tuff but as soon as she was up on my knee getting tickled behind her ears she showed she was a real softy. The way Speckled wanted her cuddles were close face to face contact and would rest her beak on my nose or up to my eye and if you tried to lean back Speckled would climb up you to get up close. Alternatively, she would stand and let me clean her beak. The first time I did this she pulled away but once she realised what I was doing she would always standstill with her beak up to let me clean her.
Once the girls moved into the kitchen where they live in a dog car box Speckled once more started jumping on top where she would snooze until I would tuck her in later. As she was the boss she, of course, would get her luxury supper each night and would shout at me if it was not ready. To this end every day she would come to the kitchen door at 16:30 to shout at me. Once she would see me put my hand on the Weetabix packet, she know I was making her supper and would wander off muttering away knowing it would be ready soon.
Once Speckled’s supper was ready she would come in hop up and Alexa would start playing her music form the Skyrim soundtrack, if it was not her music she would complain, put her back to us and go in the corner. Then as soon as we put her music on, she would come and sit neat Alexa and listen as she fell asleep.
All our Alexa home automation was set around Speckled from lights to notifications to music, with ‘Speckleds music time’ and ‘Speckled must be obeyed’, ‘have you made Speckled supper’ and ‘Speckled demands her breakfast’.
Gravy and Casserole are going to miss Speckled they are already crying for her. Gravy has not been separated from Speckled for her entire 5 years and Casserole was always foraging with Speckled afraid she was missing out on something.
I’m going to miss my little Speckled (by little I mean massive and weighed a ton), I hope she is safe and playing with all the other girls looking after BBQ, lining them up for inspection and enjoying laying in the sun.