I’ve had a malfunctioning chicken for a while. For whatever reason (most likely the ridiculous over-breeding that goes into commercial layers) she cannot make eggs with shells. Every so often she fails to pass her shell-less egg and becomes ill. I’ve been predicting for a few months that I’ll be down to three chickens before Xmas.
So it was a bit of a shock to realise that one of my other chickens was poorly. With hindsight I realise that she had stopped laying eggs. I hadn’t noticed because my remaining layers have gone feral, making nests under hedges and in flower pots. I just assumed that Rowan Chicken had found a better hiding place than the others.
As with most home hen-keepers, I hit my poultry books (and of course Google) and diagnosed sour crop. This can be fatal, and often indicates an underlying problem, but is something you treat at home rather than run straight to the vets. Unfortunately, by the time I’d got back from a shopping trip into town, armed with the obligatory live yogurt, Rowan was looking extremely ill. She didn’t survive the night and is now keeping me metaphorical company up the allotment.
I’m realistic about chicken-keeping, but I’ll miss Rowan. Holly will really miss Rowan. Holly’s favourite game was to make Rowan turn on a circle. Rowan usually won by running under her belly. Rowan also took every opportunity to forage in the house, not helped by Holly’s habit of herding her ever further into the interior.
So now I have three chickens and two layers. At least Hazel, my malfunctioning chicken, is doing well (for now).