Well when I posted this picture yesterday showing sweet little Stephie in the bottom right I had no inclination that I would be writing about the hen opposite her, Pumpkin the very next day. Yes we had another death in the flock yesterday, only two days after Stephie disappeared with no explanation on Saturday morning.
On that Saturday morning I had to pick up Pumpkin and carry her outside, she was on the floor of the coop just sitting there. She was one of the few chickens that didn’t pick on Stephie on a regular basis. At that time I wondered if she saw the attack, was scared and decided to stay in the coop.
Well over the weekend both Cindy and I noticed Pumpkin just wasn’t herself, acting very lethargic and out of it. We noticed she had some pasty butt action going on which can cause problems. We cleaned her and a couple other hens Sunday morning. I figured she would come around from there as she has had similar episodes in the past.
When Cindy cleaned the coop yesterday she noticed that Pumpkin was already under the platform, isolating herself, not a good sign. I got home late due to traffic. Cindy had gone out to put the chicks to bed and came back to tell me she didn’t see Pumpkin in the coop….
So by the time I changed and came out she said she found her, dead, under the coop. I could not believe that we just lost another hen. Based on the experience we had with Lucy where she was prematurely assumed to be dead I looked under the platform with faint hope Pumpkin wasn’t dead. However both feet straight up in the air with no motion dismissed that idea immediately. Now I had to get her out.
Her body was a good 8 feet under the platform. I grabbed a large plastic tray we keep out there for me to lay on when needed. I then got the long rake I normally use to comb the run. Getting her out was a delicate procedure that took time as I did not want to pull her out in a way that would mangle or harm her any further. After about 10 minutes of work I finally had her still body in hand. Of course I had tears in my eyes as I placed her in the wagon to take her out back to be buried.
As I was pulling the wagon out there I was getting absolutely mauled by mosquitoes as the sun had just set, the prime time for them. I swore out loud several times at the lunacy of living in a place that has active mosquitoes alive in December. They continued to attack me mercilessly as I dug Pumpkins grave, I gave up trying to swat them and just ignored the constant pin pricks. I tried to dig her grave deep, much deeper than the other birds as we have had issues with other animals digging up the remains. We both said our good byes as I laid her into her final resting spot, feeling guilty that somehow I should have been able to prevent this outcome.
Pumpkin was another sweet bird that like Stephie was pretty far down in the pecking order. In recent weeks I had been giving both her and Stephie treats away from the other birds so they wouldn’t get hassled. To lose both of them in the span of three days is surreal.
I actually feel a bit numb to what happened. All of a sudden our adult flock is down to six birds, of those six only two of them seem 100% ok. Kathy has chronic pasty butt, Kristen has been laying lash eggs which identify a possible internal infection, Katie has a bad leg which has had her limping for weeks, and Shadow is also low energy and has been dropping liquid egg looking stuff. Only the Jersey Giants, Cupcake and Cutie Pie seem 100% healthy at this point. Today Cindy is doing a full cleaning of the chickens feeders which we have been really bad at doing on a regular basis (at all). I need to make sure I add that to my mental check list of things that HAVE to be done.
I stayed up to watch the Eagles last night. During the first half it seemed like the Eagles were setting themselves up to fall flat on their face. Lucky for them they were playing the one team that has been more decimated by injuries than the Eagles have. That streak continued last night when the Redskins back up QB broke his leg, just like the starter did two weeks ago, an incredible string of bad luck.
The end result was Mark Suck Sanchez, who had a brief stint with the Eagles but hadn’t thrown a pass since 2016, was inserted into the game. After some early limited success, Sanchez returned to his old form throwing a bad interception and having an embarrassing butt fumble in the second half (that he recovered). It was a nice win for the Birds which allows them to still control their own destiny, setting up a monster rematch with the Cowboys next week for the division lead. If they manage to win that game the team may still have a pulse.