I was just getting home last night, frustrated by bad traffic on my way home. As I bustled up the sidewalk from our garage, I glanced over at the chicken coop and said “hey chickadees!” like I do every day. But today, I stopped in my tracks. Sambelu, one of our Americauna hens, was laying in the run, dead.
I ran to get Mark, but I knew there wasn’t anything we could do. With no marks at all on her body, no broken neck and the fact that she was inside the run and our yard is fenced, we knew it was likely not an animal that killed her.
Knowing that the remaining two hens were running around the yard just fine and they all ate and drank the same feed and water and garden treats, we doubted that she was poisoned in some way. We quickly did some research to try to figure out what happened. We think that she was egg-bound, where an egg was trapped in her oviduct. Sadly, this is a fatal condition if not treated right away. Either that or she had a heart attack or some sudden onset problem.
Because we never knew she had an issue until she was gone. On Sunday, she was out running around with the others like usual while we picked in the garden. She came out and ate fine with the others in the morning. But we are at work during the day and can’t watch them for those hours. We made the choice to let them free range while we weren’t there because they love it, it’s good for them and it’s a risk we’re willing to take. But I wish we could have known something was wrong to try to possibly help her.
We buried her under the chickens’ favorite bush. She was one of our chickens that was featured in Edible Allegheny when Next Gen House was part of Online Dish last year. (She’s the brown lady on the right.)
We will likely get more chickens, now that we are down to two. We need to do some research on how to introduce more into an existing group, but we know that they are social, and we don’t want to risk one of them being alone if the other dies.
I love her beak open in this photo, like she’s being fierce and laying down the law. Her name comes from our closest approximation of the Klingon name for chicken. So here’s hoping she’s in Sto’Vo’Kor, the Klingon afterlife. She had a fierce warrior face, after all.