our little chunk

the extreme heat this weekend was just too much for our ameraucana chicken, rose.  when we first picked up the three “ladies” they were to be named after the golden girls.  dorothy, blanche, and rose.  dorothy turned out to be a rooster.  we immediately nicknamed rose, chunk.  on they way home from the feed store, when the other two were frightened and huddled in a corner, our little chunk happily ate.

from right to left: rose, blanche, dorothy

most of the pictures of rose from her first few days look a lot like this.  crowding the food jar.

chunk gave us our first blue egg.  our first double yolker.  and so many laughs.  my favorite memory since owning chickens is this little white blur running as fast as she could at me when she saw me heading her way with treats.  i will miss this the most when going out to the run.

for fellow chicken farmers here is what we noticed.  yesterday afternoon she was lethargic and not at all interested in the watermelon i was bringing out.  it has been 100 plus degrees for three days straight.  we have been supplementing the chickens water with electrolyte water and changing the waterers several times per day.  if the water gets too warm, they won’t drink so it imperative that you change the water frequently.  i have been giving watermelon as treats because of its high water content.  we also set up two electric fans to create an air flow.  the good news is the other chickens seem to be healthy.  we let them free range most of yesterday evening and this morning.  all seem to have lots of energy.

we brought rose yesterday evening. i gave her access to electrolyte water, food, and yogurt.  she would occasionally drink but only when i put her beak in the water myself.  i gave her a luke warm water bath to try to cool her body temperature.  it is important not to give them ice water baths because they will go into shock.  we went to bed feeling optimistic but still very concerned.  i woke up in the middle of the night to check on her and i found her.  she did not make it.

i am thankful she didn’t appear to suffer.  i am thankful she died in the the air conditioned room that she was raised in.  i cried.  she is my first chicken that has died.  after a year and half, i guess those are pretty good odds.  i hate feeling incompetent, like i missed something or could have done something different.  it isn’t the loss of a “pet.”  i will be absolutely devastated when one of my pups or mr. milo bojangles passes on.  it is different but it is still sad.

chickens aren’t the smartest animals but they know hurt.  they know pain.  they know happiness.  they recognize us.  i have learned so much by owning chickens.  they have enriched my life more than i could have imagined.

i miss our chunk.  i will remember her like the picture below.  swallowing blueberries whole.

i took this video over the weekend.  they ladies were being extra chatty.  it made me laugh so i thought i would share.