As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

And Then There Were 5

I sat down to eat dinner in the backyard tonight. At first I was facing towards the fence, but then I decided to move my chair to the other side of the table so that I could look out over the backyard and watch the chickens; they are always good for entertainment. So there I sat and watched and realized that one of the blue-laced wyandottes was laying in one of the “dirt holes” they dig and sit/roll in. But she didn’t move.  Just as I started to walk towards the roost, I heard one or two of the other girls make a squawk unlike anything I had ever heard them make. Upon touching #6, I could tell that she had died; rigamortis had already set in.

I picked her up, examined her and noticed nothing out of the ordinary. Being that she was right under the door of the roost (upon which they like to jump and sit), I thought maybe she had fallen? (The other day I saw one of them ungracefully fall down as their jump/flight was not enough to get them on top.) Her head was positioned under her breast in such a way that looked unnatural.

Though I have had my hens just under one year, I have done enough reading to know that “sudden chicken death syndrome” is common. So the fact that this happened, well, I cannot say I am totally surprised. I could send her body to the dept. at TX A&M University for an autopsy, but I don’t have the desire.

It’s always sad to lose animal, even if it wasn’t the family dog or pet turtle.

Interestingly, I originally was going to get just 5 hens, but when picking them out as chicks I decided to get 6 just in case they didn’t all live to adult-hood.

Tomorrow I will give her a proper burial. And life will go on.

#6 dead in my arms


8 responses

  1. wow, she was a big girl! sorry you lost one. you should pluck some of her feathers and make something (earrings?). i got 9 chickens, assuming i would lose 4 (we have 2 dogs)…now that i have them all, i dont want to lose any of em! oh well, such is life…

    March 27, 2011 at 2:03 am

  2. p.s. see you at volunteer happy hour?!? i hope so!!

    March 27, 2011 at 2:03 am

  3. Ronda

    Sorry, Joy. This is sad. Thanks for inspiring so many others to take the plunge into backyard chickens, even knowing that some will not make it. Hang in there!

    March 30, 2011 at 12:39 am

  4. Susan

    Thank you for sharing this, Joy. Saddened by your loss, but you have done the bravest thing by stewarding these animals in the first place!

    March 30, 2011 at 1:28 am

  5. Sally B

    Perhaps #6 did not have a very long life, but had a good one — thanks to you. I am sorry that you had to experience this.

    Sally B

    April 5, 2011 at 12:10 am

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