Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Poorly chook

Yesterday afternoon, all 5 Garden Girls were chatty, happy, chooks.

Yesterday evening, I put the Girls away, and cursed them because there were two huge, really vile smelling poos.  As I chatted to them, I realised that Milly wasn't there.  I checked the nest box and inside the Cube, nothing.  I walked around the garden, and found her, beak down, hunched in one spot. I talked to her, and she tried to move a few steps (away from me) but looked really unwell.

 I left her there, rushed into the house to get some Nutri Drops.  The two really vile smelly poos I had seen whilst Back outside, I picked her up and stood her on top of the Cube run. She stayed still, leaning over.  Her eyes were fluttering, mostly shut.  I gave her the nutri drops, and then decided to put her in the nest box.    She climbed out of the nestbox, and sat on the roosting bars looking very unwell.  

Twice during the evening, I popped out to see how she was.  Same. Beak down on the roosting bars, breathing heavily, looking very uncomfortable. 

My initial assumption (hope) was that it was just a softy coming. She had laid an egg a couple of days ago, her first in a very long time,  so that seemed reasonable.  However, I remembered that Jasmine, our Welsummer (and the least intelligent chicken on the planet), had eaten something wihich had poisoned her, and she had died very quickly.  I wondered if Milly had found whatever Jasmine had eaten.  

But Jasmine had died when ranging over the garden near the patio.  We always assumed she'd eaten a poisoned slug or something.   In an attempt to stop the pigeon getting in, I had moved the netting so that the girls could come in and out of their walk in run (WIR) at the front rather than the back.  Maybe she'd eaten the fungi that had been growing since the area was rested?

I consoled myself by thinking about what a b*tch of a chicken Milly was, and how the other Girls' lives (especially, but not exclusively, Tilda's) would be infinitely happier without her presence.   I reminded myself that she was relentlessly vicious and horrible to the other Girls.  I remembered how tiny she'd been when I'd picked her at the breeders, and how small she'd been when we collected them a couple of weeks later.   I thought about how, as Matriarch,  she would go out of her way to seek out and then chase the other Girls round the garden until she had them cornered. I thought about how sweet she looked with that daft comb.  And how angry she would get with herself when her broody instinct made her crouch when I approached.  How lovely it ws when she was broody and I could stroke her and pick her up.      Lots of mixed feelings.

This morning,  I went to let the Girls out early. I braced myself for a dead Milly. In spite of what a mean spiritied old bag she is, I wouldn't be happy that she was gone.

Of course, being Milly and being such a cantankerous old hag, she was out in the WIR with the others, looking fairly normal. Well, "normal" for Milly.

Such relief.

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