If I thought that my last post was going to be my most frustrating experience for January… I was so wrong.
I’ve been a bit silent, both on social media and here on the blog, because last week was really rough.
A week ago Sunday, we finished the new coop. We got the chickens moved over that night, and while they seemed a bit off-kilter from the move itself, everyone seemed to be doing fine on Monday.
On Tuesday morning, I went out to feed the chickens to find Ned, our rooster, dead on the coop floor.
It was more than a little unexpected.
He was maybe three years old, probably more like 2 1/2, and there had been no indication of anything being wrong before that. He was eating and drinking as normal on Monday, and the only slight indication of anything being wrong that I can look back and see (after hours of wracking my memories) is that he may have been acting a bit sluggish on Monday. But I attributed that to the unseasonably warm weather we were having that day, and I don’t know that I would have done anything different even knowing he was acting sluggish, because it was WARM. Like, shorts-weather warm.
Tuesday was spent awaiting necropsy (this is what an animal autopsy is called for those of you who don’t know) results between bouts of crying and obsessively checking on the hens, because I had no idea if what had evidently killed him overnight might be contagious.
A little before noon, I found out what caused Ned’s demise – he’d developed an abdominal infection (most likely bacterial) that caused internal hemorrhaging overnight. Since we’d seen practically zero signs that Ned was ill… there was very little we could have done.
The good news was that the vet assured me it was likely not going to pass to the hens, and that we didn’t need to worry about having tissue samples sent off to the lab for further analysis unless we were curious about which bacteria it was, and that could be like hunting for a needle in a haystack.
There was also not room in the budget for the cost of tissue sample analysis ($120ish), especially after the completely unexpected expense for the necropsy ($80).
I’ve still been somewhat obsessively checking on the girls, but everyone is acting their normal selves, especially after a couple of days. The first day or so after Ned’s demise, they were acting like things were ‘off’, but not ill, fortunately.
Now, nearly a week later, egg production is still steady, and the girls are talkative again.
But it’s still so quiet out there without Ned crowing for his ‘kangaroo’. Because seriously, that’s what he sounded like when he crowed. Like he was asking for a kangaroo.
Eventually, I will have pictures up of the new coop. But I just haven’t felt like going out there and taking pictures yet, because it seems incomplete without Ned.