Not the most cheerful time of year. A couple of days ago when I fed the chickens I noticed that one of the ex-bats was rather listless. She was out with the rest, but didn’t want to move around very much, and certainly wasn’t pestering me for food, unlike the others. I threw some to her and she pecked at it, but was soon mobbed by the others. I wondered if she was a slow riser, or bothered by the cold, but didn’t think that much more of it. That night all the chickens were fine, clustering round me and demanding to be fed. That seemed to confirm my theory that she was a slow starter. Yesterday all was fine again, and so I stopped worrying.
This morning one of the ex-bat hens was outside next to one of the trees, and quite dead. It wasn’t clear what killed her, though something had decided to have a little go at her after she was dead, possibly a rat or something like that. It might not even have been the same hen, and was just a coincidence, but it’s still not much fun.
Chickens can be disposed of on the property and we usually either bury them or cremate them. Given how cold it is and how solid the ground is, I’ve gone with cremation. I hope her last month was pleasant, even if her life has been cut short.