Sunday, June 27, 2010

A good Red Chicken..

Just a quick note to mark the passing of a good Red Chicken, as of yesterday.. err, maybe late the evening before. No idea which one this was, be it a Rhode Island Red, or the one Golden Comet that I originally started out with. This is the first death of a chicken we've experienced here, and it was a little rough on the kids at first, but they seem to understand it all now and how things work. And hell, here I bought five, really wanting just the three, because I thought I'd lose one as a baby chick to some sort of illness and lose another to a fox or something right off the bat! 

As far as I can tell, she expired as a result of what they call 'egg binding'. Check the def.:

"In farmingaviculture and animal husbandry, the term egg binding refers to a medical condition in birds where the female is unable to pass an egg that has formed. The egg may be stuck near the cloaca, or further inside. Egg binding is a reasonably uncommon, and potentially serious, condition that can lead to infection or damage to internal tissue."

..what they don't mention here is that it *mostly* results in death. It's pretty serious, and it's what happened here at the Pleasant Valley Ranch. Darn it. 

That's her right there, the red one closest to the camera, on the left. Thing is, ever since about.. oh, just after she started laying, she's been firing out these weak shelled eggs, that mostly break upon exit. Well, nah.. maybe 1/3rd of 'em break on laying.. the rest are paper thin and mostly survive. Once, I put a thumb through one of 'em when I picked it up because it was so weak. Almost as if there was no calcium on the outside to give it strength, just the inner membrane, which is thin and flexible.. I saw this coming, but didn't have any options but to cross my fingers and hope for the best. It's a genetic thing, you see. They're all on the same diet.. if they all had weak shelled eggs, I'd know it was a calcium deficiency issue, and I could rectify that.. but the rest of the birds are all doing quite well. All good shells and no problems.. but since it's one bird out of five, with only the one problem, it can only be genetic. It was bound to happen. It's just too bad it did..

So, now we're down to four. We'll see how that goes. I don't want to have less than three.. five really was a good number, but I don't want to introduce another hen into the mix all solo like.. that wouldn't be quite fair. I'd sure like to have a rooster in the mix, but.. well.. that probably wouldn't go over too well in the neighborhood.. though it wouldn't be against any town regulations. ;-)

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