We lost one of our hens today. It wasn't intentional, she chocked while eating some leftover brisket. I was there to see it and felt horrible that I didn't know how to give a hen the heimlich maneuver. My darling husband did try to help her out, but his assistance was too late. It didn't take long for her to pass, but that didn't help any of us feel better.
It is odd how it is different than intentionally selecting a bird for the table. This girl wasn't big enough for a meal and we were not prepared to clean her, so she was wasted. I think I feel the worst about the waste of it.
We decided not to tell the little ones. The hens move rather quickly and I don't think they will notice one of the reds is missing. We went down to hand feed the hens cracked corn later in the day and the little boys didn't seem to notice anything missing. They just wanted to feed the girls and then catch one to pet. They have had a lot of loss in their lives and you never know what will trigger a memory.
Now we have a flock of 12 girls and will likely have fewer eggs, but this particular hen was so young that she may not have been laying just yet. As the week rolls on I'll see if there is a chance in our egg count.
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