In yesterday's post, I shared a photo of a tiny egg laid by one of our little red hens. We have three mixed mutt chickens that have been laying on a regular basis, despite the shortened hours of daylight. Over the past week, I have found two little eggs and one larger elongated egg with pointed ends. Then today, on a miserable dreary morning, with the sky dropping rain instead of snow, making the yard a disgusting mud and poop filled slop, I noticed that one of the chickens had something bad going on with its hind end. The chickens were all looking bedraggled, but this one had a mess of poop stuck to her butt and a red mass that I definitely shouldn't have been seeing. My stomach clenched and I ran inside to call my husband, who had just left for work. I told him that one of the chickens had prolapsed and I needed him to come home now. Luckily he was doing a job where he could turn around and come home. In the meantime, I had managed to isolate the chicken in the chicken coop, since chickens love to peck at any type of exposed flesh or a chicken in a weakened state. If a prolapse is not that severe, it is possible to clean off the area and actually push it back inside the body. However, as we stood in the shit filled chicken yard with the rain coming down, staring at our poor chicken who appeared perfectly normal except for the obvious thing that was not normal, we knew that we were not going that route. My husband got the ax, stump, and two nails; I grabbed a plastic trash bag, and we debated where he would do it. I didn't want the other chickens to see, but we couldn't do it in the open yard where the dogs might fight over the blood. So the back garden it was. I walked back to the house, but stood outside and saw the frantic after moments. I believe that if people were forced to watch or participate in the transformation of a breathing creature to the unrecognizable piece of meat that they consume, people might make different eating choices. Not everyone, but some.
When I came back inside, the little babe asked me what that chicken's name was. I said that the three red ones do not have names since they all look the same. She said that she thought a good name was "Little Red Hen." Well, Little Red Hen, you were a good layer, one of the friendliest chickens that we have had, and I will miss both your presence and your eggs.
*I do not know why the chicken prolapsed and I do not know why we have been seeing the tiny eggs. There are a whole bunch of possible reasons, but none of them really apply to our chicken, and apparently it is just something that can happen. I don't know if this was the particular chicken who has been laying the odd eggs, since we have 3 that look the same. Some sources say that too much calcium can cause white spotting on eggs, which we do occasionally see. However, some sources say that abnormally shaped eggs can be due to a lack of calcium, so I don't know if calcium is even our problem.