We had a sad phone call from Geoff today letting us know that one of our Rhode Island Red hens had suddenly died. Neither Aggie or Cassie had shown any signs of illness or discomfort so our best guess is a heart attack. Sometimes chickens do have sudden heart attacks, suddenly dropping down dead where moments before they were absolutely fine. Over the past seven years, we have had many of our hens pass away from a variety of different issues but this would be the first time that a hen has died so unexpectedly.
The most frustrating part is that neither of us are able to go down to check on the chickens due to Covid isolation rules. Fortunately for us, Liz and Sarah were at the allotment and managed to get a photo of the remaining Rhode Island Red hen. Counting the four spikes on the comb and the smooth, rounded back of the comb, I was fairly confident that Cassie was still with us.
Sadly, this meant that Aggie was the one who died. It was surprising because she always appeared so robust and full of life. Always the first to run to the coop door, she ruled the flock in the main coop with an iron beak. Although Tommy has his occasional moments of masculinity, it was Aggie who defended the flock from potential threats. When going into the coop, I was always more worried about being attacked by Aggie’s sharp beak than Tommy’s spurs.
Over the next few days the flock will work out who is top chicken in Aggie’s absence. My best guess is Hattie or Millie. But only time will tell…