For the last couple of weeks I've been thinking that I really should do a post about everything I've learnt in the last year that we've had the chickens. I was thinking about the things that aren't in the books that I read, or that you don't really expect. And then suddenly one night this last week the saddest example of that happened and made me think that I actually know nothing about the subject at all.
I got home to find that only two of the chickens had made it back into the house when it got dark. Fearing the worst I frantically searched the garden for the Spotty chicken, but couldn't find her. Then I heard a little scuffle under the chookhouse, and found her there, looking really sick. Normally she is very timid and runs away from me but didn't put up a fight as I reached down and got her out. Then she vomited and I knew she wasn't well.
Long, sad and disturbing story made short, she must have been attacked by something a few days ago (perhaps a cat, or even the black chicken who often pecks her?) or maybe just been scratched by a branch in the garden, but because she has so many feathers, and there were feathers all over the yard anyway due to them moulting, we didn't notice anything. By the time we found her that night the wound was infected and she was in a really bad way. Sadly she didn't survive.
I am absolutely gutted as we got the chickens in the first place to ensure that we knew that they would be well cared for as they produced eggs for us, and yet somehow she managed to become so ill without us realising. It was really surprising how quickly she went downhill, as she had jumped out of the house and run around that morning as normal, and had seemed to be eating ok too. I guess the lesson to be learned from this is that if you have feathery bantam chickens, please make sure you regularly check them thoroughly as their feathers can hide a lot.
My post about what I know about chickens might have to wait a while.