It's that time of year. Our oldest rooster was looking fluffy a few days before Christmas, although looking a little better Christmas Eve. Clearly it was the lull before the storm, as I found him dead Christmas morning. With horrible weather coming in, I felt I needed to get him into his final resting spot before the predicted -9C weather arrived.
I recently got a rescued Malus esopus spizenburg (late fall cooking apple) planted although it will need more than some scraps of Day Lily and a lone Dandelion for company. I dug a hole about 3 feet from the trunk. I lined the hole with an inch layer of sawdust from the cutting shed and put some biochar on top. I put Bilbo in a triple layer of extra large brown paper bag with a mixture of sawdust and biochar in with him, then rolled the bag up around him and laid him in the hole. I then added more sawdust and biochar on top, followed by all the dirt I'd dug out. It's mounded up above the surrounding ground level, but I know it will subside. From what I've read, burying deep is more likely to pollute ground water. This isn't likely to happen with a shallow burial, lots of brown organic matter under and around him, and a tree nearby who will think he's yummy.
Eventually, I need to find a nice board to do a wood burned marker, but for the moment, I found a rectangular stone and two round stones and made a simple letter "B" to mark the spot.
He was a good rooster. I'm prepared to put many of our dead in whatever compost is handy, although I always try to add extra brown, high carbon material under them. But when it's a friend, I try to go a bit further and give them a final resting place that feeds the circle of life and I'll make sure that something with pretty blooms get added when the weather is a bit nicer.
Oh! Jay, how perfect! And so sorry for the loss of your friend.
That's the way it will happened for Little Mama. She's the oldest hen I have ever had, so clever, sweet as candy and the best mother of all time. She's going to be 12 years old this year and she has a special place in my heart, so thank you for sharing.
Love is the only resource that grows the more you use it.
Jay I am sorry for your loss. We have done this several times now or at least something very similar. Planting a tree or shrub over the grave of a lost friend is a nice way to honor them and give their final energy back to the circle of life. I have a tree nursery bed out in the garden with saplings and some seed started trees to use as I reforest our little property. This has been my system since we started keeping chickens.
Jay, I'm so sorry for your loss. My chickens are pets to me as well. I lost one of my hens a couple of weeks before Christmas. She was buried in a place I intend to plant a fruit tree when the bare root trees are available.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” — Abraham Lincoln
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