Sunday morning when I went out to the coop to free the restless natives, one of my hens didn't come out. She was just lying in the floor of the coop with her eyes closed and barely breathing. Of course she was the one I had been coddling by dressing her in a chicken saddle to keep the other mean girls from picking on her bare back. I had taken the saddle off of her one day a couple of weeks ago so I don't think that had anything to do with it but she was definitely suffering and was not going to recover.
I tried to pick her up and she squawked and flopped around a bit and I chose to quick bothering her until I decided what I was going to do.
I left the chicken door open so I could finish the chores and feed the rabbits.
When we went to Johnson's Shut-Ins a few weeks ago, I asked our friend Aaron to farm sit while we were gone. Things went well but he wasn't quite fast enough getting the water bowl back in place in the rabbit hutch. Bryon had helped me separate the rabbits last winter after it became clear that Bean (the black and white one) was a BOY and NOT a girl like the teenager girl at the swap meet had told me.
I found homes right before Christmas for all of those cute little oopsies.
After I got done messing around with the rabbits I went inside for a few minutes and when I came back, the hen had flopped herself out of the coop and into the driveway and died.
I didn't try to butcher her because I didn't know what killed her. Bryon said today that he thought maybe she had a stroke trying to lay a stuck egg out in the hot hen house. Could be. I have the fan going out there now 27/7 so that helps a little bit I suppose and I do have a shade cloth over their yard but it's just too hot for man and beast right now.
So now I'm down to four hens.
After vacation I plan to get another batch of broilers to raise since I only have one frozen chicken left in the freezer and I suppose I'll get a few Buff Orpingtons to add to the hen house as well.
I just hope I don't have any more Elvis impersonations in the hen house while I"m gone.