I slip on my marblized Dansko clogs each morning to trundle out about 50 feet behind my house to feed the chickens. I carefully make my way through the gate into the electrified enclosure, and then even more carefully, pick my way through the curious excited group of birds. I have learned the hard way that it is crucial to avoid any serious misstep as it can result in slow horrible death for the affected bird. After dispensing the food and water just outside the hoop house door, I make my way tentatively inside. I always enter with the greeting, “Is everyone still alive?” This is because our chicken egg farming enterprise doubles as a chicken retirement home. About half of the chickens are on their last legs so to speak. So this morning, the words froze in my mouth, as my eyes fell on the golden feathered corpse of a dead lady resting on the straw covered floor under the roost.
Earlier that morning, I had discovered the gruesome corpse pictured above on our patio, and just to prove that these things happen in threes, there was another only slightly mangled corpse off to the north of the house outside my studio barn. I am afraid the chickens are not bright enough to take these deaths as a clear warning to stay in their electrified enclosure. Alas. But if the death is sudden enough, it may be more merciful than the slower decline they face in the straw.