Chicken Down

We’ve enjoyed having chickens for about 8-years now. The first flock were all named after female rock stars. This was a mistake. As they started to pass, it was a lot harder as they had names. Our second batch decidedly didn’t have given names. A couple ended up with nicknames born out of coloring.

We were down to two of the four of batch #2 when just a couple of weeks ago, two additional girls came into the coop.

Upon my return from the Island, one of the remaining batch #2 girls started behaving oddly. She was happy to eat and drink, but didn’t want to move around much, and her feathers were all fluffed out kinda 80’s style. Once a chicken is showing symptoms that something is wrong, it’s usually too late.

On Tuesday I pulled her out of the enclosure and placed her in the old brooder container in the atrium with food and water. She was alert but did not move. Checking on her throughout the day saw her growing quieter. Yesterday morning I picked her up, gave her rear end a wash in warm water and I am fairly sure I discovered she was egg bound. But what I was feeling could have been a tumor. There’s no way to know. I consulted Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, and decided that I did not have the skill, knowledge or equipment to further work on the ‘egg bound’ hypothesis. Things like syringes were involved, and they said ‘The tricky bit is…’ about four time, along with, ‘could internally injure’ the same number of times.

Keeping her warm and comfortable was my difficult choice, while feeling inadequate. Sure, some folks will say, ‘It’s only a chicken,’ and this is the one I called our Red Girl. She was a sweet presence in our life, loved strutting around in the garden nibbling on weeds and bugs, and I will miss her. She passed sometime in the night. I am writing rather than finding the courage to bury her.

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