Oh, for fuckssake.
One of the rooster meat birds died.
Just out of nowhere went tits up while I was at work the other day. The H texted to say the bird died and then apparently TURNED OFF HIS PHONE so I couldn't get in touch with him for an hour. (He probably didn't turn it off, he just doesn't have the Siamese Twin relationship with his iPhone that I do.) Michele at WabiSabi Home and Garden calls it her iBoyfriend. I totally agree with that....
The H said that he looked out at the Chicken Tractor and just saw feet poking up. Never a good sign, right? And like the awesome H that he is, went out and wrapped Mr. Dead Roo in plastic bags and deposited him in the trash.
I have wracked my brain for indicators of imminent demise that I may have missed, but can't think of any! Except for the case of the random bloody diarrhea (which I did not chronicle here - you're welcome) the birds have all been very healthy, neat and tidy. I did notice diarrhea starting a week ago but they randomly have that, so I didn't think much of it. Then there was a little (stress: little) blood and then nothing for, like 3 days. Then angel of death.
In typical Lindsey fashion, I hauled him out of the trash when I got home, and, wearing a goodish mix of work slacks, mud boots, dress sweater and garden gloves, unwrapped him and took a gander.
Graphic image to follow (it's not that bad - he just looks like he's sleeping, which is, coincidentally, what my dad used to say when we encountered road kill. "Don't worry, guys, he's just sleeping.")
Hmmm. Mystery dead chicken. He was actually one of the bigger dudes as well, so I was bummed that he died, because so far the hardiest appear to be the tiny hens. And the runt.
What's even more interesting is that when he died (and when the other chicks died, as well) the other chickens went to the edge of the tractor, as far away as possible, and sat down looking away from him. They formed an outward facing crescent with tails toward the deceased and heads towards better times.
Anyhow. That makes final chicken count at 13, with butchering to take place in about a month. Perhaps 3 weeks. My friend got a lead on a plucker that attaches to a drill bit. I have no idea how that actually will work, but I'm up for anything. I have been lacing their feed with Diatomaceaous Earth to keep the parasites at bay. And no, that's not what killed him. Because it would've killed more of them than just him.
A word about my relationship with things I have to kill. Repeat after me: "Everyone has to eat."
That seems to sum it up.
And yeah, I could become a vegetarian, but then I would turn into a raging bitch on crack, and who wants that? I submit no one.