If it weren’t for the gigantic, ponderous bag, the ropes of mucus dripping from her vulva, and her occasional groans of discomfort, I’d be starting to wonder if Katika were not pregnant after all.
She is now a week overdue and I’m feeling a hundred years older. I’ve given up on making any predictions. I’m just putting one foot after another and plodding through the rest of my chores.
I don’t have energy left for a lot of emotion. On Thursday a grain delivery was unexpectedly delayed. I had to feed the meat birds chicken scratch, rather than pellets. I knew the change would upset them, and sure enough, when I went into the barn to check Katika, one of the Cornish Rock hens was drooping. By now the pellets had arrived but it was too late. I held the hen to the water but she would not drink (Cornish Rocks drink copiously in order to process the tremendous protein load they consume). I could see she would not revive from the stress.
I wasn’t going to waste another chicken. I carried her behind the barn, chopped her head off with a quick blow of the splitting maul, and bled her out. In under an hour she was scalded, plucked, gutted, washed, and cooling in my refrigerator. I hate to kill anything but in this case I barely reacted. And though generally when DH is away I don’t bother to cook, I roasted the chicken last night and served it to myself with Caesar salad. Delicious.