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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Another Death on the Farm

Georgia: March - August, 2012

We found Georgia dead this evening, laying in a heap in the corner of the coop.  There were no apparent marks on her that indicated an animal had gotten to her like Lucretia did, rather, Georgia just looked like she was asleep in the dirt.  The birds did that some times, just sat in the dirt, trying to keep cool or whatever.  I banged the coop wall with my fist a few times, hoping she would wake up and go scurrying out into the run to peck at the ground with her friends.  Instead, she just lay there.

Pulling her out with the shovel, she was stiff already.  Her eyelids closed, and all the color from her waddle had drained back into her body, leaving it a faded rose color.  I looked her over as best I could, what with her being stiff already, and found nothing wrong.  No peck marks, no bites.  She wasn't eggbound (eggs can actually get stuck in the bird's vent sometimes, causing a backup and death).  She just looked to have simply ... died.  Which was odd because I had seen her about 3-4 hours ago that day running around and being a chicken.  Not standing still out of illness or having trouble breathing.  I think she either got scared by one of the other birds and smacked her head on the top of the coop, breaking her neck, or she had a heart attack.  And that kicks up so much anxiety for me, because that is how I always imagined someone finding me - curled up in a heap, eyes closed, color drained from my face.  

After Lucretia, I told myself that I shouldn't get too attached to the birds, because their lifespans are shorter than most pets, and with the raccoon and possum population the way it is around here, it would only be a matter of time before one works its way into the coop again.  Recently, the girls had been doing very well in the mornings as far as squawking went, and we had just bought them some scratch treats to feed them, too.  Our little farm family was finally coming together - we were getting about 14 or so eggs a week, the birds were calming down, and I was sleeping in longer.  With all that, it's hard not to be attached.  

Butter and Daisy leaving a spot for Georgia on the perch tonight ... 

Anyway, that's the update around here.  I wish I could find out what really happened to her, but a necropsy test is over $100 plus shipping, and I just can't swing that.  So I'm going to stick with some random act of fate (whatever it was), and move on.  Georgia's resting place is in the yard, near the maple tree, right next to Lucretia.  The clay fox that was her marker has now been shifted, pulling double duty.  

You were a good bird, Georgia.  The best we had.

You will be missed. 

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