Friday, December 16, 2011
Unfortunately there is usually bad to go with the good however. About a week or so ago I noticed one of the smaller meat chickens was out standing in a mud puddle, covered head to toe in mud and grime. I had just been out to check on them about a half hour earlier so he hadn't been there long but he was obviously not well. I have seen how vicious some of these chickens can be to the smaller ones and suspected one of the big ones had stomped on him a bit. I actually saw a big one grab one of the smaller ones one day, by the nap of the neck, and sling that poor little chicken halfway across the pen. Although I think it's a horrible practice, I can see why they sedate these chickens in a commercial environment. 5,000 of these monsters crowded in one place and you would have half of them dead in no time. Anyway, I scooped the little feller up in a towel and took him into the basement where I gave him a warm bath and set him by the stove to dry. Chigger came in to warm too and they hung out for a while. It was apparent that the bird was messed up though and I wasn't sure what to do. After a while he started to eat and drink but he couldn't stand up and was very quite.
And so, in more bad news, our sweet Emily (a young laying hen) died yesterday. She was a good little Leghorn hen that had just started laying. I never noticed anything to be wrong with her; she seemed the picture of health. I went out to check on how many eggs we had and saw her on the nest, which is normal. But she had her eyes closed. I thought this was odd but when I petted her she stood up and clucked at me so I went back to the studio for a while. I went back out maybe 45 minutes later and she was dead, laying in that same nesting box. It's so hard to tell if a chicken is sick. I examined her body but couldn't find the first mark or swollen spot or anything on her. I mean, gushing blood or not eating or spitting up you can tell, but otherwise it's baffling. So, we buried 2 chickens in 2 days. I can take a good many things in life but I can't bear to see an animal hungry, sick or miserable. I think we try to take care of ours the best we can but sometimes stuff still happens.
Today is a rainy, dreary day but it's not cold at least. Some of the production rush is over so it is a slightly lazy day. I'll do a little more throwing today as the kiln cools off, keeping BC (basement chicken) company. If the rains slacks off a little we might go walkabout to find a Christmas tree. I noticed that the little corner market where I normally buy one has sold out, so, looks like this may be a homegrown Christmas for real! I might even make out some of my Christmas cards and do a little shopping online tonight while somebody else is occupied with reading or such. Tomorrow looks to be a nice day. I must go into town to deliver yet another load of pottery and while we're there we thought we'd check out a couple of holiday markets and just generally piss around and enjoy ourselves. Have a nice lunch somewhere; that sort of thing. I'll try to get some photos!