|Hannah the Chicken in happier times 5th Jan 2010|
For about a week she had been noticeably weak and in the last couple of days we had been helping her to eat, simply making sure she had her fair share of corn, pellets and left-overs, and helping her in and out of the coop.
We knew she was on death's doorstep on Thursday as she could barely move, so we got a cardboard box, filed it with hay and placed her comfortably in it. We then placed the box in the coop so she benefited from the warmth of her compatriots overnight.
Come Friday morning and Hannah was dead.
And so there were three, still healthy, still laying eggs.
We bought our ex-battery hens on Shakespeare's Birthday/St George's Day (23rd April) 2009 and back then we were told (by a chap who was buying some at the same time, who had bought them before) to expect "a couple of years laying" from them.
The weird thing was that a couple of weeks back Hannah seemed in fine fettle and wouldn't have been the prime candidate to pop her clogs first.
There was no outward sign of disease, no sneezing or coughing, no loss of feathers, she just gradually seemed to lose strength until she died.
Black armbands aren't compulsory of course - but may be worn at family functions for a few months.
Hannah pullum mortuus vivat pulli.