So, we haven’t gotten a blue egg in a long, long time. I think it’s been a month since Fred last brought one in and showed it to me, and before that they seemed to be kind of misshapen and thin-shelled.
Last week, we noticed that Frick looked raggedy, feathers falling out, like she was molting. Chickens usually molt when the weather gets colder, so to have her molting in the middle of the summer seemed a bit odd, but we didn’t think a lot about it. Then she started acting unlike herself – she stayed off, alone, and stopped running over to us when we walked into the chicken yard. She’s always run over to us in hopes that we had food – I’ve called her my puppychicken for as long as I can remember – but she wasn’t doing that anymore and I don’t know how long it was going on before we noticed. If we put food right in front of her she’d eat it, but she wasn’t seeking it out.
Last week someone suggested that Frick was going to be the next chicken to “go” (ie, be eaten), and I said “NO WAY!” and I told them she’s the only chicken I considered a pet.
The irony is that she was probably already dead when I typed that.
Friday night we went out to shut up the chicken coops, and I looked specifically for Frick to see how she was doing. She’s always on the roost near the door, that’s her spot, but this time I didn’t see her. I asked Fred if he saw her, and he walked into the coop to look and saw her nowhere. He looked under the small coop (she’d been spending time under there – the chickens like to go under the coops during the day when it’s hot out, and it’s been particularly hot lately) and didn’t see her, and then he looked under the big coop and said “She’s behind the steps!”
He got the handle to a broom and pushed at her with it. And then he said that he thought she was dead.
She was, and she’d been dead a long time.
After doing some research online and talking about it, we’re convinced that she was egg bound. It bothers us both that we put off her behavior to molting, when if we’d realized that she was egg bound we could have tried to help her. I hate the thought of her going under the coop and dying behind those stairs. I hate the thought of her being in pain.
It’s probably weird to y’all that I can happily talk about eating a chicken one minute and then terribly miss Frick the next. All I can say is that I always considered her a pet and I already miss seeing her goofy little face.
Good ol’ Frick.
(I know what you’re thinking, and no. We didn’t. And neither did the pigs. We don’t eat our pets.)
It was actually not a good weekend to be a Crooked Acres chicken. Late last week a Jersey Giant (black) mother chicken hatched three eggs. On Saturday Fred went into the coop to check on them, and one of the three newborn chicks was laying off by herself. He put her under a heat lamp in the garage and dipped her beak in water several times. But she wouldn’t open her eyes, she felt cool, and her breathing was labored. Within a few hours, she was dead.
The surviving newborns are just fine, and none of the other chickens are acting in any way sick. But you can bet we’ll keep a close eye on them from here on out.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: Meet Jodie and Rambo.