This is the story of my hen and best friend Hopie, who passed away in August 2016.
Over three years ago, our hen Goldie decided to go broody. She sat on several eggs, all of which were marked to prevent new ones from being laid. Goldie was, however, a very fierce pecker. Therefore, when there came a week during which she refused to get off her nest, we were unable to remove the new egg that had been laid by our Barred Rock hen, Hennie.
So, when all the other chicks hatched and began to explore with Goldie, it was no surprise to see the small brown egg, still laying there amidst the broken eggshells from which the other chicks had hatched.
That egg stayed, cold in the nest, for nearly over a day before we decided to take action. The egg was taken into my room where, for about ten days, it was kept in a container meant for storing Christmas ornaments, under a desk lamp. We didn't have an incubator then, so this was the best we could do.
On the first of August, 2013, I woke up to a pipped and peeping egg.
Several hours later, however, the egg had made no further progress, its peeping steadily growing weaker. We finally decided to help it hatch, so we spent the next few hours carefully chipping away small pieces of shell, slowly helping the chick hatch. We were worried, though, as we encountered quite a bit of blood in the process. But I still had hope, and so I named the chick Hope. Soon later she was nicknamed Hopie, and that has been her name since.
Eventually, Hopie had hatched. She was a beautiful little black chick with black skin, beak, and feet, whose feathers soon dried to a gleaming silver. Her mother was a Barred Rock, and her father was a Partridge Silkie.
Though weak, Hopie soon grew stronger. She lived in a box, under the same desk lamp, in my room. Unlike most lone chicks, she would not peep for hours on end. While she did peep this way at times, she would immediately stop when I'd put my hand in her box. Content, she would fall asleep, snuggled under my hand.
We developed a close bond, and it was to my delight that Hopie soon started following me around, whether in my room or outside. She quickly learned to fly out of her box, and it was not unusual for me to wake up in the morning with her perched on the headboard of my bed, or scratching around my room. She made quite a mess.
Hopie disappeared this August the 4th, just 3 days after her 3rd birthday. She remained my very best friend until the end. I will never forget the way she would always come running to me for a hug, closing her dark brown eyes and letting me gently stroke her face. Then, sitting on my lap, she would poof up and begin to groom herself, as well as my hair.
Hopie was always a source of comfort for me, and she helped me through many difficult times. I loved Hopie with all my heart, and… I think she loved me as well.
Rest in peace, dearest Hopie.