There’s a sick chicken (or maybe not sick, just elderly).
A couple of days ago:Comb gone limp and discoloured, and that characteristic no-neck stillness, like a semi-sleep.Or a whole sleep.
This is an old chicken. There are still older chickens around, because I still have a few with chopped beaks (- what an awful thing), but she’s an elderly lady, as far as hens go.
Today: Comb almost completely flopped and pale, her wings are slumping down instead of held up on her back, and she’s hunched up into herself, dozing in the coop.
Sometimes hens come out of a state like this, perk up and return to business as usual, but most likely she’s approaching her departure.
This is how the hens go around here, except a couple unlucky ones that seem to get got by predators every year. They enjoy a long retirement, and then they withdraw, drift into this less and less conscious pre-death state, and take themselves to the dark coop for the final sleep. Watching them go, it seems like the transition from life to death is long and smooth, not at all a single moment.
I find them stiff in the coop in the morning, sometimes stretched out, sometimes with their head tucked under their wing.
I think this is the best possible chicken way to go. It seems natural and restful, but it’s hard to be sure. They don’t look to me like they’re in pain, but I wish I knew.
*She completed her transition overnight