July was a brutal month for my chickens.
You heard the story of Alanis's untimely death. But what I haven't gotten to yet is that Ingrid died too.
We had just finished with the Kiddo's bath one evening, when there was a knock at the front door. One of the neighbors had spotted one of our chickens (Florence the Maran) on the loose in our alley. Flo was eventually recaptured, but when Sweet Husband went to put her in the coop we found Ingrid lying inside.
She was still alive, but so close to death that in the time it took Sweet Husband to turn on the hose to get her some cold water she stopped breathing. It's a hard thing to be a full-figured, black chicken in the heat, I guess. She had all the fresh water and shade we could give her, but two weeks of 100+ temps was too much.
Poor Tori--who is now the last hen standing of our original flock--has been a little lonely. She has the little girls, of course, but they're not really part of her flock yet. Or she's not part of theirs--however you want to say it.
For example, we have two long roosts in our coop for the ladies to sleep on. The big girls always slept on the upper one together, leaving the little ones to the lower roost or the coop floor. Now Tori sleeps on the upper one by herself. (Which leaves the six little ones to squish onto the lower roost--it's a bit comical, actually, if you can get past the sad.)
And all the egg-laying duties have fallen to Tori as well. While Tori has always been my favorite chicken personality-wise, Ingrid was the power-egg-layer. (She laid 21 to Tori's 14 in July.) The littles won't start laying until September or October, so we may have to buy some supplemental eggs in the meantime, which always bruises my pride just a little.
But, on the upside, at least we did go ahead and decide to get some babies last Spring. While we may have some gap, our little flock will go on, and that's a nice thought.