Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Oh, dear. It’s time.

Lately, Buffy has been leaping out of the crate when I open it up, walking directly to the lodge’s exterior door door, and demanding to be let outside. She hops out into the courtyard, and was quite happy hanging out there, alone, scratching among the leaves.

Was.

Yesterday, Buffy figured out she could squeeze herself through the widest of the gaps between the slats in the courtyard gate. The gap the cats use, that makes a whoosh sound when our sleek, older, silver tortoiseshell Savannah glides though it, and a chunk-chunk-ga-GUNK sound when our younger, corpulent, black Lucius Malfoy wedges himself through it.

I came out to check on her, and damn near had a coronary when I searched the small courtyard and couldn’t find her anywhere. I lifted my eyes to see her ten feet away. On the other side of the gate. On the other side of the driveway.

Jail break. And she was naked, to boot. She’s healing very well, and her feathers are coming in like a little mohawk, but she’s still not safe from the inquisitive, merciless beaks of her sisters, nor from the cold, for that matter.

So, caped, she spent yesterday afternoon outside, with the flock, but apart from the flock, definitely on her own. When I went to collect her from Fox Woods at sundown, I couldn’t find her anywhere. PANIC.

All the rest of the girls were gathered around the coop and run, getting ready to head in for the night…and there she was. With her girls. Just hanging out. Like one of the girls.

I was very moved.

She seemed perturbed when I brought her back to the house. She wanted to stay in the coop overnight, dammit.

I may be anthropomorphising.

But, last night was just too damned cold. It got down to 6F, which is plenty cold for us. A quarter-naked chicken, still recovering from injuries, accustomed to a 68-degree house, was not ready for that.

Today, she hung out with her flock from noon to sundown, cape and all. I’ve been coating what remains of the wound with Vaseline Petroleum Jelly, per Debbie’s instructions, to keep it from drying out. Well, Buffy wanted nothing more than to spend her new-found freedom dust bathing. Am I painting a picture?

Vaseline + dust bathing + the instinct to groom = 1 dirty, greasy chicken

I am resisting the very strong temptation to give the poor girl a bath. She’s been through quite enough, don’t you think?

Tonight is Buffy’s last night in the house, barring unforeseen circumstances. Tomorrow is to be well into the 50s, with a low of 38 tomorrow night, and 60s the next day. I’ll let her return to the coop with the other hens, and give her a boost up to the roosts when I help Tallulah. Then, leave her there. All night.

So, I guess I won’t be sleeping tomorrow night…

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