Monday, January 31, 2011

An anxious couple of days

Over the weekend we had about 3 phone calls from different divisions of the prefectural office and the city office to check exactly how many chickens we have and that they are all okay. The reason for all this is because there have been quite a few new outbreaks of bird flu at chicken farms in a neighbouring prefecture, Miyazaki. We reassured them that all our chickens were all running around in their covered area (I have been very good about not letting them out lately) and laying beautiful eggs in large quantities each day.
And then yesterday we came home from a day away to discover that one of our very happy, healthy chickens had rolled over and...... died.... We did all the right things and rang the officials, my husband packed it into a double bag and took it to the town office only to be told to just put it somewhere and wait for a day. If another chicken died within 24 hours then we would need to get them checked, but if not we could just put it out with the "burnable" rubbish this morning as chances of it having died from bird flu would be very low. So we have been checking the chickens every half an hour or so and having visions of people in space suits coming in, TV cameras taking over the lawn and having all our neighbours' chicken farms shut down because our chickens had been the first in Oita prefecture to be infected with the dreaded bird flu.
Fortunately the remaining 21 chickens appear to be completely fine and rewarded us with 17 eggs today so we have our fingers crossed that the combination of freezing temperatures and old age were the cause of our first ever chicken death. I just wish the timing had been a little different! We haven't bothered to tell my parents-in-law about the incident as it is likely to just confirm that our "free range" ways are not good and they are likely to mention it to the neighbours who are likely to relay the story to others in the area who will change the story into something that it is not and we will end up with people in spacesuits at our backdoor and TV reporters camped on the lawn. I rewarded the remaining 21 chickens for being happy and healthy by making them a huge pot of hot porridge, which they scoffed down this morning.
Here's hoping I don't have a "spoke too soon" moment in the next week or so.....


  1. Oh no.... I think you have indeed done the right thing not telling the inlaws! I hope the rest of the flock are hale and hearty.

  2. We have been watching this situation develop on NHK....I really hope your flock is well...!!

  3. God - chicken drama huha. What amazingly unfortunate timing for a chook to die!! Glad you don't have to deal with making tea and scones for all the people not camped out on your lawn. Let me know when it's safe to visit.

  4. I agree with you and Vicky, I'd hold off on telling the in-laws if you can help it. At least until you know more.

    And I'm hoping it's just incredibly bad timing that your chicken died. That it was indeed just a mixture of like you said, meaning the cold and old age. Hopefully it isn't the chicken flu.

  5. Hi, hope the chooks are genki. Maybe we can brave a visit, are you free Saturday? Any day this week or next?

    lena would like Emily and Masaki to come to her birthday party on March 20. I hope this is enough notice!