We lost our sweet little Wyandotte, Daisy, today. She was slow to leave the coop this morning and spent the morning sitting on the deck. I became concerned and dug out our Chicken Health Handbook by Gail Damerow and started searching for causes of lethargy and diarrhea (no one ever said the life on the Unfarm was glamorous). I also double checked the chicken first aid kit supplies recommended over on the Fresh Eggs Daily blog at http://www.fresh-eggs-daily.com/2012/11/the-all-natural-chicken-first-aid-kit.html and decided that Kocci-Free sounded like it might be what we needed, or at least it couldn't hurt. I started calling around to our local feed stores but no one seemed to have Kocci-Free in stock. I had decided I needed to set out to the feed stores and see what else they did have but I wanted to check on Daisy again first. I went out the the back to see how she was doing and that is when I saw her. She was lying on her side in the pathway, between the honeysuckle and the china blue vines. She was already gone.
Daisy will be greatly missed, as she was one of our friendlier hens, if not the friendliest, and she was quite sweet and gentle as well. So sweet and gentle that the other hens tended to pick on her and she was usually last to get any treats during a feeding frenzy. I will miss seeing her up on the railing, stealing squirrel food; or running behind the other hens with her funny little gait; or jumping for blueberries under the bushes in the summer.
This brings our hen population down to only three, none of which are laying. Beauty has never laid a single egg, despite being an Australorp, a breed reputed to be good layers. Penny has historically been a good layer, but seems to have joined a union and gone on strike. Sakari, the last of our original three hens (and my personal hen) is just plain retired having reached the age of 10 years. How this little workhorse of a chicken has made it so long when everyone else has succumbed to one illness or another is beyond me, but I am glad for it - she is the matriarch of our flock.
I hope that we can add a new chicken or two to the flock again soon. I miss going out to the coop to collect eggs, and it seems lonely in the coop now with just the three girls.