Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Bye Myrtle and thanks for all the eggs

It happened very quickly.  One moment Myrtle was doing normal  chicken things, scratching and pecking and chasing little insects and eating grass and then the next moment Myrtle was in the chook house sitting.

the chook house
At first I thought she was going clucky but when I picked her up to remove any eggs she might be sitting on I found that she was a little floppy. I knew something was wrong. I made sure she had water and I did a few little checks on her and couldn't find anything wrong but I was concerned. I popped into the chook house every now and then but each time I checked on her she seemed weaker and then, well, I found Myrtle dead, only just. We had a little cuddle, I stroked her beautiful feathers and I thanked her for all her eggs.

Chook mates - L-R Mavis, Myra, Muriel and Myrtle
Poor Myrtie - such a pretty chooky. Myrtle was the chooky girl  I picked out first when I bought her from the Country Cacklers van that visits Gumly Gumly ( a place just outside of Wagga Wagga) every second Thursday.

She had the most beautiful spotty feathers -  quite different to the other Isa Browns available for sale the day I bought her.

Myrtle (top) with Myra enjoying cauliflower leaves
Now Myrtle has joined my little animal cemetery in the vegetable patch. She is keeping company with  the little lost lambs that didn't make it through their birth or that were taken from Highfield by a fox.

Myrtle is on the right - see how beautiful her feathers are - all spotty
I couldn't work out what happened to her, her decline was so fast. She had been in good health as had all the chooky girls. They had good food and water and their house was cleaned out each day and fresh water given. I checked to see if she was egg bound - she wasn't (that I could tell).

Meeting the wildlife - Mavis, Myra and Myrtle.
We think that she might have been bitten by a spider or a snake - perhaps a baby snake... and a tradie that came today said that that was certainly possible.

My chookies free-range all day  finding a huge amount of food themselves having a great time scratching
and clucking together. I have seen them take on small grubs and worms, massive hairy spiders and giant centipedes and I have even seen then attempt to eat a rare and large legless lizard - I stopped them in time - they are pretty special animals.

It is totally conceivable that Myrtie went for a baby snake or a poisonous spider - to be sure there are snakes and spiders around. It's the only thing I can think that happened to her.

Perhaps if I didn't let them roam all day this wouldn't happen. But then they wouldn't get to be real chooks enjoying all the things that chooks enjoy, like dust and grubs and grasses and making a mess of the mulch around the citrus trees.

I am so sorry Myrtie... thank you for your clucky company and thanks for all the eggs.


  1. One of our turkeys at work walked across the yard the other day, leaned against the wall and died. He was quite old - maybe birds just don't do lingering old age as much as other animals? Much better that she had a good life free to roam about than being 'safe' in a shed. RIP Myrtle x

    1. Thank you AP... I am sure you are right, they love being out all day. How strange your turkey was!

  2. Vale, Myrtle. :(

    Your chooks (those that remain) are gorgeous, by the way. And Myrtle had a wonderful life - much better than being a battery hen - take comfort in that.

    1. Thanks Nina, everyone who sees them says they are good looking chooks. I think she did have an enjoyable life clucking around.

  3. How sad for you. I'm sure Myrtle will be having a wonderful time in chook heaven, scratching around and eating bugs just like her earthly life. I'm sure you did the best you could for her and she would have enjoyed being a 'real' chicken with all her chicken friends.

    1. Yes, I've decided, they will still roam free, they enjoy it too much!



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