Sophia suddenly passed away, and we still have but a single chicken, ZsuZsu, in our Eglu.
My first instinct was to quickly go out and get another hen (a pullet) to provide ZsuZsu some company. But then I researched the proper way to add a chicken to your existing flock and realized it's a lot more sophisticated than simply choosing a breed, picking out a bird and tossing it into the coop with the other one. There's the three-week quarantine and then the socialization and the holding one's breath while the pecking order is sorted out and wow, that's a lot to do.
Meanwhile, I had an overseas business trip and my last triathlon of the season and a climb up Mt Whitney, and suddenly a month's gone by and ZsuZsu is still alone in the backyard.
So now it's time to do something about her lonesomeness. ZsuZsu still seems skittish around the corner of the coop where Sophia passed away. I think we're going to try to find ZsuZsu a new home with an established flock where she'll have other chickens around to chase bugs and munch weeds and split time in the nesting box. While it'll be tough to give her up, overall, I think she'd be happier with more than a single companion, and the change of scenery might do her good.
This wouldn't spell the end of our urban chicken farming. With an empty coop, we'd start anew with a couple new chickens (pullets, I think, but maybe chicks again) that my daughters could help pick out and name and care for.
I haven't yet made a final decision that this is the way to go, but in writing it down, I think I'm closer. There's still the negotiations with my seven year-old daughter to navigate, and the matter of trying to find a good home for ZsuZsu.
Rest assured, I'll share the experience here. And if you've got other insights to add to the mix, please do so in the comments below.
Photo by KayVee.INC on Flickr