Bet that title got your attention, didn't it? First the sad news: I found Chicky the hen keeled over dead in the coop this morning. She was ill about a month ago, I treated her with antibiotics and isolated her, she improved, I put her back in with the general population and then weeks later she started looking not herself. Looks like she went to sleep last night and never woke up. She was 2-1/2 years old.
Chicky (right) and her buddy Anastasia in 2010.
Chicky (who was the runt of our first group of chicks but a real survivor) has had many adventures described on this blog: spa day, "I am Chicken, Hear me whup Beaker's *ss", model for a beautiful cake creation by Ronna, Hen Superstar, and many, many more.
She was a spunky, amusing little hen and will be very much missed by us, and especially her Auntie Ronna. We will name one of the new hens Chicky II in her honour. Gordon will give Chicky a decent burial in the chicken graveyard this afternoon. I am almost starting to get used to things dropping dead around here. :( I am definitely not cut out to be a real farmer!
Onto the cannibalism...
Why, might you ask, do I have a duckling in my bathtub?
Don't YOU spend your Saturday nights giving ducklings warm baths?
The duckling temporarily known as Brownie. That has changed since yesterday!
Because YESTERDAY, Brownie got a bleeder. I think he broke a pinfeather on his wing, but regardless, the bleeding set off a frenzy of pecking by his siblings. Poultry just love it when someone starts bleeding. They'll start pecking and won't stop until the victim is maimed or dead, so you have to isolate the bleeder until the wound has healed.
In the space of ten minutes last night, Brownie went from having one broken pinfeather to having two bleeding wings, courtesy of his cannibalistic siblings! I took him out of the duck run, getting blood and duck poop all over my raincoat in the process.
Since it was cold and windy last night, I decided to bring Brownie inside to wash him off with warm water. He had a lovely soak in the tub, followed by a rubdown. The bleeding had stopped, but we decided to keep him in a cage on the front porch overnight.
"I quite like being a house duck!"
After the bath, Brownie enjoyed some naptime on my lap.
He looks very pleased with himself! He's the biggest of all the ducklings, almost as large as his Mama.
Gordon came and joined us as we relaxed in the bathroom for a spell.
This morning I decided to try reintegrating Brownie, since the bleeding had stopped and I couldn't even see any redness on his pinfeathers.
He lasted three minutes in the coop before he was bleeding again, thanks to his carnivorous siblings. He's back on the front porch until further notice. His new name? Hannibal. (Yes, I realize Hannibal is the cannibal, not the cannibalized, but I couldn't help myself.)
Video to follow!