We had a really good but fast trip to Texas. We saw some old friends, visited with family, searched out some old haunts, loved the beautiful bride, and had lots of bbq! It was hot but way less humid than back home so not too bad.
Of course as soon as we rolled in I had to check out every critter and garden plant before I could unpack the car. DD did a GREAT job! I felt bad that she had to go through losing an animal(chicken) by herself but she did everything right and it wasn't her fault. Here is what I think happened:
Lots of people around here have been losing their chickens due to gnats clogging their airways. I found out that gnats don't like the dark so I have made the coop as dark as possible and our chickens go there for refuge. Also, we have been switching from crumbled feed to pellets because there is so much waste with the crumbles. Before we left I noticed the bag of pellets we were using had a bunch of mold in it so I threw it away but they had already eaten some. (I noticed the black marans hen was wobbly a day or so later but didn't put 2 and 2 together.) Then I put an unopened bag of pellets out of storage in the coop but told DD to use up the crumbles before opening pellets. Since the coop isn't well lit and she wasn't familiar with the feed, she wouldn't have known the new bag also had mold in it. The rest of the flock was venturing out of the coop for most of their nourishment but the sick hen was only eating the moldy feed and couldn't get well. When I fed the chickens last night, I noticed the mold in the food. I dumped it out and opened another bag out of storage- also moldy. At this point I'm thinking that the heat and humidity in our storage container (an old deep freeze) is causing the food to mold. We made a quick trip to Rural King and bought a new bag of pellets. When we opened it at home, guess what?? MOLD! By now, I am certain it is the brand of feed we had bought(Nutrena Naturewise Laying Feed) as all the rabbit and goat feed in the freezer is not molding. So DH took all the moldy food back to Rural King last night and we switched BACK to the crumbles. GRRR. I will be watching closely for sick chickens for a few days now AND looking for a new brand of pellets to cut down on the waste of feed.