Sad news – Zsa Zsa

October 9, 2011 § 2 Comments

We’re somewhat in shock. Yesterday morning when Stewart let the girls out for their breakfast, Zsa Zsa was acting a bit oddly – hanging back, not really interested in eating. He grabbed her and checked her over, but there was no sign of egg binding or inflammation or infection or anything else apparent. So when she was safely ensconced in the nest half an hour or so later, we put it down to just being in the pre-egg trace that they sometimes get. And she hates being disturbed on the nest (will hackle and growl), so we left her to it and headed in to town to do our shopping.

When we came back in the afternoon, she was dead.

Just like that. Lying on her side in the run, just near the water. We poured over every millimetre of her, but there was no sign of anything that we could see – no trauma, no swelling, not even any sign that she’d known anything was happening. Just … dead. She’d laid her egg too – again, perfectly normal in every way that we can tell. In the nestbox. It wasn’t a big egg by her standards either, so it shouldn’t have been laying stress. And it wasn’t hot.

We have no idea what happened. None. You tend to default to Marecks Disease as the cause, but it manifests in so many different ways that it’s almost not a diagnosis. But Barnevelders are supposed to be more succeptible to it than other breeds.

As you can imagine, we were in a state of shock, and woke up half fearing to find other bodies. But no, everyone else seems to be in rude good health.

We’ve just buried her a little way along from Bessie, under another apple tree we’d bought but hadn’t yet planted – a Lord Wolsey apple. (Note to self: don’t buy any more apple trees, just in case.)

Poor little girl. A beautiful little princess, with her fluffy petticoats and floppily bonnet.

She definitely didn’t suffer, so I guess a bolt-from-the-blue is the best way for this sort of thing to happen. But we’re going to be looking a bit nervously at the others for a while.

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