Thursday, 30 April 2015

How to spot a dead hen

It all started with such promise. Vita (White) Vera had been lying on eggs for a few days, minding her own surly business in one of the nests. So far, so good. Apparently this kind of cluck-cluck behaviour can trigger more of the same in the other hens of the flock, so Cat wasn't too surprised when Greta occupied the other nest next to Vera. When I got back from town, Cat mentioned that we were lucky to have two broody hens and we all started planning for how to deal with the news.

Imagine my horror when I found that Greta wasn't just lying on eggs (ok, ok, they were golfballs in this particular case), she had decided to seek out the nest to die. I wanted to cry! Not because I view the hens as beloved pets, because I don’t. But I felt like I had failed her, I hadn't fulfilled my end of the deal. Here she goes, giving us eggs every other day and in return, she dies after just a few weeks. Silly, I know, how am I supposed to protect her from sudden death, but that’s how my irrational self reacted. Damnit.

Anyways, Cat and I freaked out and started cleaning out the henhouse like mad, scrubbing Greta’s nest and throwing out all sand, poop, food, plates and bowls. We calmed down a bit after I had a long chat with the lady who heads up the gene bank for Hedemora chickens. “Chill. Chickens die. Unless the rest of the flock look a little worse for wear, just let them get on with it.”

Easy for her to say! But it did calm us down a bit.

Until the next day, when Ray the Rooster started looking considerably less cocky, with runny eyes and a bad posture. In addition, his already less than ideal behaviour got worse: he started to act like one of the hens.

How does a rooster act like a hen, you ask. He starts minding his own business ahead of that of his flock. Head down in the manure heap, pecking for food, fighting off the hens for any scraps. Along with ZERO focus on ensuring that the coast is clear for his hens. What the heck!! I wanted to send him to chicken heaven right there. And that is likely where he will end up if it turns out that we get some male chicks from Vera. We can’t have an egomaniac for a rooster prancing around the grounds.

The guy in the middle is not in my good books
So now we're desperately hoping for Ray to recuperate (for the time being), the remaining hens to remain healthy and Vera to stay on top of her eggs. Meanwhile, Greta has found a final resting place in the prettiest as well as most useful place we could find: under a raspberry bush next to our vegetable patch.

I won't tell you which berry bush


  1. Har ni fått kommentaren från mig/Goggi

    1. Goggi, det här är den första vi ser. Någon tidigare kommentar måste ha gått vilse!

  2. Tydligen försvann mina ord i rymden någonstans...Hursomhelst vill vi TACKA så mycet för sist. Vi kommer absolut följa ert strävsamma arbete för att få gården i det skick ni önskar med odlingar mm. Det är ju inte bara hårt jobb - det ger ju muskelkraft också och glädjen att se hur det växer och så småningom lägga det i grytorna är belöning värd att måna om! Vi önskar all lycka och hoppas vi ses snart igen!

    1. Tack kära du! Vi ser fram emot att ha er här fler gånger. Kramar Cissi o de andra