I arrived home on Sunday evening and did a quick walk around the cottage to see how things have been in my absence. The bees were quiet in their boxes and in need of a feed. I have to feed them as much as possible over these next few weeks to allow them to build winter stores and replace all the honey I stole. A quick look at the chickens accounted for three of them. The one missing chicken was, eh…. resting near the coop. It was lying in a corner and looked peaceful, very peaceful. A closer look confirmed that it was as stiff as a board.
I went back into the house and asked the
lovely observant Sharon how the chickens were today. She replied that they had been fine to which I replied, “even the dead one?” Once she got over the shock she confessed to regularly looking out to see how they were but never actually counting them.
For a while now we had suspected that one of them kept getting egg-bound and then occasionally laid super large and strangely textured eggs. Just before I left for the mountains I inspected them all for general health and they all seemed fine. Although it is entirely possible that I inspected one of the hens twice and missed one as they all look identical to me. In fairness it is possible that I inspected the same hen four times while the other three watched with curiosity and disbelief.
So, she probably died of an infection from being egg-bound and a brief inspection of her lifeless body suggested that this was likely the case. We plan to replace her soon. We hope to get two young hens so that the transition and social dynamics are not too stressed. I wonder if the lovely Sharon will notice?