Saturday, January 19, 2013

Horror in the hothouse!

We’ve had a fatality at the farm, a passing on the property, a homicide at the homestead, a casualty at the country-house, a slaughter at the station, a death at the domicile (seriously, is that even a word? Mr Thesaurus seems to think so), bereavement at Burragan, a… OK, I think you get it. There’s been a - how do I put this - an “incident.”

Last night I plodded over to the chook pen to feed our four Isa Brown laying hens. I hate going over there when no one else is home, for fear of encountering slithery, slimy reptilians of the deadly, Brown variety. But ST was out in the paddock and unlikely to be home much before dark, and we’d had a particularly hot day of about 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit), so I wanted to check they still had plenty of water.

It was there that I made the ghastly discovery of two fat hens lying face down in the dirt at the back of the pen. I hooted and hollered and clapped in an effort to wake them from what was surely just a very relaxed, reclined, deep slumber. But they made no attempt to get up. Their two mates clucked around at the front of the yard, waiting for me to toss them some feed. They seemed suspiciously unconcerned. Perhaps it was murder, I thought, as I prodded the corpses with a stick, hoping for any sign life.

The water dish was still full, and there was no sign of fowl play (forgive me Pun Master). Sadly, I’d known it from the moment I’d set foot near the chook pen that evening, the most likely cause of death was heat exhaustion.

You see, it’s well known chooks like to just keel over when the going gets hot. You know that saying, “fall off your perch,” yeah? That’s exactly what they’d done. But it was a shock to my system, given that just two weeks ago we’d endured days on end of 48 degree heat, even topping 50C (122F) one day! And the hens hadn’t even batted an eyelid that week. (There’s a thought for you; do chooks blink?)

There once had been six, then there were three, then six, then five, then four, (yeah, OK, it's a very complicated situation) and now there were two. My dedicated egg makers. Cut down in the prime of life.

Looks like we won’t be making too many Pavlovas for a while. Not that I think I’ve ever made one of those in my entire life, ever. But I bet I get the urge to do it this week… just because I can’t.

Dammit! I just googled Pavlova to make sure I’d spelled it correctly and then all these really fabulous pictures of yummy, yummy pavlovas came up... and now I REALLY want to make one!


  1. Our chickees have stopped laying in this revolting heat, and other birds are so doughy they don't even care when I walk past them on the lawn. Hope your last 2 are ok. And that you get rain!!!

  2. Silly chickens ... I don't blame them though. I hope your last two keep up the work for you.

  3. We lost 2 young chooks in the heat recently too Bessie. OH and I want that pavlova now too. Do you deliver????