Three chickens in a bin
There are three dead chickens in our rubbish bin. And a tiger snake.
Bin collection isn't for a few days. With the hot weather, and the current contents, its building up to an impressive stink. Lucky the bins are up by the main road, a long way from the house.
One chicken I put down. A week or so ago it started behaving oddly. It had some sort of limp, and I assumed it had hurt its leg. But it started listing to one side, and then sleeping oddly, with its head on the ground and tail in the air. I think now it was sleeping on the ground because it couldn't keep its balance on a perch.
All of that was a bit odd, but chickens are odd, and eccentricities can be tolerated. But it was declining bit by bit, and the other chooks worked out it was ailing and started to pick on it. When she had to be rescued from a gang attack it was clear she wasn't going anywhere good, and rather than see her pecked to death I killed her. Skin and bone, and perhaps not well, she wasn't something you would consider for the oven, so into the bin she went.
The second chicken was inside the tiger snake. Its not a great photo, but you can see how big the stomach is compared to the head. Pretty amazing how they can do that. We didn't kill the snake, it appeared there, dead, outside the chicken yard. I couldn't see any visible major injuries, although it had already started to decompose and was fraying at a few spots. I wanted to know what it had eaten, and did enough of an autopsy to work out which chicken it had been.
But the third chicken…..we heard a racket, and one of our trusty Isa Brown hens flew past the loungeroom window. Not in an acrobatic way, more like a plane crash. She was on the porch, having a fit. I put her in a covered container, in the shade, to keep the sun and the flies off her, but she was dead in 20 minutes. No visible marks, but you wouldn't expect to find the bite. I don't know much about it really, but I did notice her skin was very red. I think it was some sort of poisonous bite, but it might have been a spider as much as a snake.
After I finished this, we had another chicken killed. This time it was via a visiting dog, who we are minding for a week. A lovely chap, affectionate and energetic, but not used to chooks. One look at them and he was lusting for blood, and we've kept him on a leash when he's outside and near the house. But late in the day the chooks get penned, and we let the dog off for some free time. He snuck off, found a hen who had set up nest away from the crowd...and outside the safety of the pen. I heard the ruckus and gave chase, but by the time I'd retrieved the hen she was injured, and I had to also put her down. Very depressing. Not only was she a lovely white Rosecomb hen, but the eggs would have been a couple of days from hatching. Now there's another pile of eggs waiting for a snake ( or dog, I guess) to find and enjoy.
Or for me to find in six months, and NOT enjoy.