It’s been a rough couple of weeks here at thekrousehouse for me and the ladies. They came down with a respiratory infection that sounded a lot like the common cold. I had read when I started keeping chickens that they were susceptible to respiratory illness but didn’t have any idea that they would present just like we do…..stuffy noses, sneezing and an occassional phlegmy sounding cough.
Obviously, I was quite concerned, cause you can’t give a chicken a NeoCitron and send them to bed. So back to the internet I went and found advice varying from “If you don’t give them antibiotics and bring them indoors they are goners” to “keep them warm and dry and it will likely pass in a week or so.” I opted for the later and that seemed to work out well. For everyone, that is, except Gertrude.
She just didn’t quite bounce back like the rest of them and I could tell she wasn’t herself. No more sniffles but she wasn’t eating well and looked to me like she had some swollen glands in her neck (do chickens have neck glands??). I have to admit I wasn’t all that surprised when I went out one very frigid morning and found her huddled up away from the rest of the ladies and frozen stiff like a little chicken popsicle. 😦 Upsetting for sure, but thankfully, Beyoncé, Pearl and Marj all seemed to have made a full recovery.
Fast forward to last weekend. All is well at the Poulet Chalet, no signs of colds and although I am only getting 2 eggs a day, (I am not sure who is not pulling their weight) the ladies seem happy and healthy. Since we live in such close proximity to the Niagara Escarpment, I don’t let the hens out to roam in the yard unless I am home and I can keep an eye on them. There are too many predators out there and a lot of wide open space. Whenever I do let them out, they enjoy it thoroughly. I love it when they are ranging through the yard and hear me come onto the porch. They stop what they are doing and turn and run full speed at me . I am sure it’s only because they know I am the human with the food but it’s hilarious to watch and still makes me giggle. Last Saturday afternoon, I walked out to get them……..nothing……..not even crickets.
I immediately knew something was wrong. No chickens in the coop and none in the yard. It wasn’t until I spotted something near a pile of leaves at the fence line did I see her. Marjorie, my favourite, named after the Lovely Marjorie (my mother in law) had been attacked and killed by a predator. I can only guess that it was a hawk given the state I found her in.
After frantically searching the yard, I found Pearl and Beyoncé huddled under a shrub looking very skittish. I got them safely back to the Chalet and went inside to report to the rest of thekrousehouse. I found Bob and Will watching tv…..
Me: Hey guys, Marj is dead.
Will: WHAT???? (looking visibly upset….totally confusing since he barely knows that we have chickens let alone what their names are.)
Me: Good grief! (I realized he thought I was referring to my mother in law) Marj the Chicken! Not your Nana! (Then I was kinda upset cause I thought…does he really think that’s how I would tell him that his Grandmother was dead?)
Will: Oh cool….can we eat her?
This is what I deal with people.
I am taking a lot of flack from the rest of thekrousehouse because I’m apparently not very good at this chicken keeping thing. They don’t understand that chickens just die. That’s more chicken wisdom right there for ya folks. Chickens just die…..all you chicken people out there already know this. The unfortunate thing is this whole predator attack has really rattled the ladies. The next morning I went out and found this…..
Beyoncé and Pearl don’t know it yet but in a few weeks the coop will be full of more lady chickens. I am accepting any good old lady name suggestions you may have. RIP Marj and Gertrude.