On the Corner Vol. 11 Issue 1

Henrietta Lives! by Carol Byerly

It looks like Henrietta is going to make it.  The elderly Plymouth Rock chicken has survived raccoon attacks, coyote raids, the neighbor dogs, and the dramatic weather extremes of Colorado.  Now she was the sole survivor of an electrical fire that killed the other seven chickens, ages four months to a year, in her coop.  

Early Monday morning I was drawn to the backdoor by the lights of fire trucks from the rescue station just blocks from my house.  Over the fence I saw that my neighbors’ chicken coop, a sturdy little house on stilts, was engulfed in flame.  Oh no, I thought, those poor chickens.  I knew my neighbors were out of town and saw the house sitter, Liz, standing stock still in the middle of the yard, still in her slippers, arms folded, watching as the firemen efficiently and thoroughly put out the fire with their hoses and picks and dragging out all of the flammable material required to raise chickens.  Both curious (I admit) and wanting to support Liz, I went over to help and console.  Liz told that when she ran to the flaming coop, when she opened the door, all of the chickens were on fire, but for one in a corner who somehow escaped the fireball and hopped or fell out of the coop.  “Henrietta” I said, “she has survived all the other traumas here.”  And on the ground behind the coop, amidst the four or five firemen in their full yellow and black rubber suits and hoses and big helmets, I saw a small, shuddering pile of feathers...