On Thursday, Rusty the $100 Chook looked broody -- she kept heading to her nest to just sit, and she wasn't eating much. To break broodiness, you need to put the bird in a coolish spot with no nesting material, so that's what I did. Our chook dome was sitting on the freshly-mowed lawn, so I popped her in there with food and water but no nesting material.
Unfortunately, she wasn't broody. Yesterday morning she was sitting where I'd left her, but with her head on the ground and her eyes closed. She was too far gone to eat or drink. I warned the Twig and the Sprig that she would die that day (the Twig was very sober on his walk to school, the Geek told me) and settled her on a comfortable bed of dry lawn clippings in shade. We had to go out, but I doubt she lasted the morning -- she was stiff when I popped home at 2:30. In retrospect, she had probably been a bit off-colour for a few days, but she had no particular symptoms.
Rusty became our $100 chook a few years ago, after she began to suffer diarrhoea. It turned out that an egg had broken internally. The shell was removed by our vet and she had to go on antibiotics, hence the sobriquet.
The Geek is now digging a burial site selected by the Twig, under our lemon tree. The Twig has been watching a DVD about Ancient Egypt and plans to build a pyramid over Rusty's grave.
Penny, our remaining chook, looks rather lonely. I have been trying for a while to find some chooks to add to the flock, but it has been a bit more difficult than I thought. Isa Browns are easy to obtain, but not long-lived (as we have seen) and most heritage breeders live outside the Sydney basin. We'll have to take a day trip somewhere soon.