Chicken Low and Chicken High

The low came Sunday evening as we were getting ready to leave for church and we were trying to round up the chickens, hoping to convince them to go to bed early since we knew we’d be home after dark.  I didn’t see Fancy but eventually found her under a parked car. I instantly knew something was up.  After I retrieved her from under the car with no protest from her, my fears were confirmed.  She had very labored breathing and kept closing her eyes.  Her comb had turned very pale and she looked near death.

Josh tried getting her to drink and then tried giving her a vitamin supplement that sent her into convulsions.  He ended up putting her out of her misery.

She seemed just fine at every point up until then, and apparently Sudden Chicken Death Syndrome is a thing, usually heart related.

Fancy got her name because she had pretty gold feathers, a large comb, and no matter how many times we clipped her wings she would still fly over the fence just to show us she could.  We joked …”oh, she thinks she fancy!” and that’s how she got her name.

She will be missed. She was the last remaining hen from the original chicks and the only one who laid white eggs. Poor Nolan cried when I told him she wasn’t going to make it and exclaimed “Now, I’ll never see a white egg, again!”

We don’t know what caused her death, but we’ll keep an eye on the rest of the flock and start giving them some various preventative things and hopefully all will be well.

RIP Fancy: 2016-2017

The high came last night. I came home and looked around the yard and saw a missing Buff Orpington.  A few minutes later I saw her sneak out from the shed. I glanced under and didn’t see any eggs. After dinner I went out to close the coop and that dang chicken was gone again.  There she was, under the shed. She’d gone broody. Meaning she was sitting on eggs expecting them to hatch. Um, no, honey, that’s not how nature works when there’s no rooster.

I managed to use a stick to convince her to leave. I didn’t want something getting her in the night.  She was not very happy with me and I could hear her squawking from the coop for a good 5 minutes.  Meantime, I knew there were eggs under there because that’s what broody hens do. Sit on eggs. I used a rake to pull them out.

Ya’ll.

YA’LL!

There were 23 eggs under there.  I did the egg freshness test…

and they all passed!

There were no white eggs and we’ve been getting about one white and 1-2 brown ones/day in the nesting box for a week or two as things warmed up, so my best guess is that two of the older Buff Orpingtons and Fancy were laying in the nesting box.  That means that our younger hens, Chicoletta and Little Red, must have started laying in addition to the broody Buff. I mean, how else do you have 23 still fresh eggs out there!?

Craziness!

I’m was feeling pretty disheartened about the chicken situation after Fancy and the egg find helped a little. I’m hoping to build them a new coop and run in a couple of months as it warms up and we hopefully will be putting a little less $ and energy into the rental house we’re getting ready to list.

I’m thinking something like this, with a little supervised free ranging most days.

So, that’s the latest on our ongoing chicken saga!